GRAMMYS CLEANS UP ACT TO LURE CHINA

New Straits Times - - World -

BEI­JING

THE Grammys is look­ing to break into China, but it will have to do so with­out the help of some of its top stars — Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, among oth­ers — af­ter it pledged to bring only well-be­haved artistes to meet Chi­nese cen­sors’ de­mands.

Lady Gaga, Bjork and Bon Jovi are blocked in China af­ter they met or ex­pressed sup­port for the ex­iled Ti­betan spir­i­tual leader, the Dalai Lama. China re­cently black­listed Cana­dian star Bieber, cit­ing bad be­hav­iour.

China’s huge con­sumer base is a mag­net for Hol­ly­wood stu­dios to theme park op­er­a­tors, but en­try in the mar­ket comes with strings at­tached. The coun­try has long cen­sored im­ported film and mu­sic, and is now clamp­ing down hard on au­dio-vis­ual con­tent on­line.

The Record­ing Academy, which runs the Grammys, pledged on Thurs­day in the Chi­nese cap­i­tal to re­spect the coun­try’s me­dia curbs as it planned to launch a tour in China next year fea­tur­ing its award-win­ning artistes, or nom­i­nees, per­form­ing live shows.

Lady Gaga has six Grammy Award wins. Bieber, a Grammy-win­ner nom­i­nated seven times, apol­o­gised to fans on Thurs­day af­ter he abruptly can­celled the rest of his world tour and ac­ci­den­tally hit a pho­tog­ra­pher with his truck.

“If there are re­stric­tions and things of that na­ture, we have to be re­spect­ful,” said Record­ing Academy pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive Neil Port­now.

China has launched a cam­paign to cleanse the en­ter­tain­ment sec­tor of con­tent it deems in­ap­pro­pri­ate and un­healthy, a vague term the au­thor­i­ties fre­quently use to jus­tify cen­sor­ship of po­lit­i­cally sen­si­tive top­ics.

“We will pro­mote artistes with a pos­i­tive and healthy im­age,” said Steven Fock, chief ex­ec­u­tive of mu­sic events or­gan­iser Bravo En­ter­tain­ment, one of Record­ing Academy’s part­ners for the live show tour, along with China

Mu­sic Vi­sion.

At a time of slow­ing do­mes­tic growth, Chi­nese au­di­ences have be­come in­creas­ingly im­por­tant to the United States en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try.

A livestream in

China last year of the Grammy Awards drew nearly 11 mil­lion view­ers.

In con­trast, Grammy view­er­ship dipped slightly for the lat­est show in Fe­bru­ary, from nearly 25 mil­lion last year in the US.

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