GRAMMYS CLEANS UP ACT TO LURE CHINA
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
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.