New must get time to show its worth
inside malls and supermarkets in some Chinese cities are not required to obtain the licenses that apply to traditional karaoke venues, according to a recent notice issued by the Ministry of Culture. Thepaper.cn commented on Wednesday:
By not including the mini karaoke booths among “entertainment properties”, the Ministry of Culture has made it clear that it is tolerant of youngsters warbling an after-school song or two in the pay-as-you-go booths. It even specifies in its notice that teenagers’ right to sing should be respected.
According to the notice, those operating the karaoke booths only have to register them with the local cultural affairs authorities instead of applying for entertainment licenses. Which is right, as the booths, which house a karaoke machine with a touch screen, two bar stools, two pairs of headsets and two microphones, do not resemble mini karaoke bars. Payments can be made via a smartphone and the recordings sent to users, who are free to share their voices via social media.
The ministry’s approach to the management of new business models such as karaoke booths is
praiseworthy. Transparent and mall-based, the tiny booths carry little risk of accommodating obscenity, drug exchanges and other security hazards, which are not uncommon in traditional karaoke bars. Parents of young children will feel more at ease if their kids use the booths.
In fact, the emergence of singing booths in Chinese malls and markets is an example of a new payas-you-go entertainment model, which the authorities should keep an open mind to, as Premier Li Keqiang said at a July conference.
New things do have their downsides, but they can also inject fresh momentum into urban governance if effectively managed and given proper guidance. Station-less shared bikes, for instance, have proved their worth to users, despite their design flaws and the struggle to avoid disorderly parking. Innovation attempts like these should not be stifled so long as they are benefiting rather than damaging society.