Vinyl records gaining ground in China
In a picture from 1990 (above), people in Beijing enjoy a Chinese chess contest in Ditan Park.
Nowadays, the interest has extended from adults to kids. Children learn board games as a way to develop their intellect or as part of school activities.
In July, more than 300 students from 33 teams from around the country (right) take part in a Western chess event in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province.
China is witnessing an increase in the popularity of vinyl records in line with a trend in other countries.
In November, pop singer Lao Lang released Dust in theWind in the retro format that was once very popular with music lovers everywhere. The Beijing-based singer had launched the debut album in 1995. The vinyl version is now stirring nostalgia among his fans. The singer-songwriter is expected to release more such records in the future.
Universal Music China also released three vinyl records in November: Hong Kong-based singer-actor Jacky Cheung’s classic albums, Love Fire Flower (1992) and Borntobe Wild (1994), and Taipei-based pop singer Tsai Chin’s 2007 Love Without End Hong KongConcert. Both artists are icons of Chinese music.
“In 2015, sales of vinyl records in the United States grew by an astounding 30 percent. We hope vinyl sales increase in China as well,” Garand Wu, managing director of Universal Music China, said.
His company plans to release more vinyl records in the next three to five years, he said.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said in its annual report that music sales in China last year rose 63.8 percent to $170 million.
“In an era when the market is largely dominated by digital music, we want high-quality vinyl to be as popular,” Wu said.
In China, vinyl records were popular in the 1920s and ’30s, when films, music and fashion from Shanghai were taking off. At the time, fans of Peking Opera also listened to the ancient art form on vinyl.
Beyond vinyl, this year saw a diversification of the country’s music market with regard to niche genres, such as jazz and hip-hop.
The first China branch of the New York-based Blue Note Jazz Club opened in Bei- million jing in August.
Shanghai once had a vibrant jazz scene, but the music had lost popularity in China in recent decades. There are only four or five jazz venues in the country — one of the most famous being the East Shore Jazz Cafe in Beijing.
Modernsky, one of the nation’s biggest indie-record companies since 1997, recently founded a hip-hop branch, named MDSK, with the aim of supporting local talent. Among the first group of artists the label signed are rapper Vinida, whose real name is Weng Ying, actor-singer Edison Chan and ChineseAmerican hip-hop music producer Jeff Liang, aka Soulspeak.
“Transition is the key word when we talk about China’s music industry,” Zhang Qian, a music professor at the Communication University of China, said.
Music and internet companies are working together, and a booming live-show business is helping indie musicians survive at a time when traditional ways of selling music — like CDs — are dying.
China’s music industry is expected to pick up more steam next year. Pop diva Faye Wong will hold a concert in Shanghai on Dec 30. Instead of touring different cities as has been the trend among top Chinese artists, she will have one show that will be live-streamed by Chinese internet giant Tencent Inc.
By Dec 5, 390,000 tickets to watch her live show online had sold out at record prices from 1,800 yuan ($259) to 7,800 yuan.
On Jan 18, Metallica will make its Beijing debut as part of the band’s world tour next year. The influential heavy metal band will also perform in Shanghai earlier next month.
worth of music was sold in China in 2015, a phonographic industry association said.