One doesn’t think of China when they imagine EDM. EDC, Tomorrowland, Shambhala, and other venues usually stick out in one’s mind, but the Chinese EDM scene is growing, and may soon rival it’s Western counterpart. While its enjoyment is on the rise in China, it faces unique challenges that music in Western communities don’t!
On the state-sanctioned counterparts to Western social media, a vibrant community grows. Much like our own music sharing habits on Soundcloud and Facebook, different websites play a role in developing Chinese music culture. A culture with deep roots similar to EDM origins in America, Europe, and around the world.
The scene in China has been a long time coming
In December 1978, reformists in the Chinese Communist Party began to open up the Chinese economy to the world. Unprecedented development began, and with it came party culture. Nightclubs began to open up in the 1990s. Back then, they weren’t so interested in making money. Much of the focus was on showcasing good dance music.
Foreign exchange students were the first to organize and attend dance music parties. They became the first audience for a lot of what the scene had to offer. Between the exchange of cultures and the economic opportunity, Chinese clubbers began to see more of the appeal. The Chinese club scene was taking off, and now almost every major city has a nightclub for electronic dance music.
The modern Chinese club scene is ripe with nightlife options, centered on those driven by profit and those driven by music. Both can be great options depending on the consumer’s wants, but each faces unique challenges unseen in other markets.
It wasn’t always easy to find EDM in China
Bureaucracy took its toll on the accessibility of EDM. Between high rents, costly licensing, and state approval for clubs and festivals, events were hard to pull off. For a long time, many clubs were hindered by an almost closed market access. At the same time nightclubs were often subject to crackdowns by the police.
In addition to the legal troubles, China’s EDM scene faced social struggles. Culturally, becoming a DJ or producer often wasn’t considered respectable. Overall, a lack of familiarity with EDM and its cultural value became a common strife for the budding music culture.
In spite of it all, modern China is full of places to enjoy EDM, and people who enjoy it. Their culture has proven friendly and open to the genre, and some key online tools will only help it grow in the long run.
The future of EDM is on the web
Internet censorship is a common occurrence in the PRC. On the other hand, many Chinese counterparts to websites like Facebook and Soundcloud have become major platforms for sharing music. Many of the nation’s artists that haven’t picked up steam yet in the West are made accessible to China. As a result, their musical culture is thriving on domestic social media.
Their own website Xiami is not so different from Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Spotify, or Beatport. Housing a library of over 3 million tracks and the ability to make user recommendations, its comparable to our own music streaming and download services. Their modern infrastructure for music enjoyment is as available as any of our own services are to us.
At the end of it all, China’s vast and populous landscape lends itself to a plethora of cultural contributions and consumer markets. As a modern and urban nation their own love of music and dancing is not so different from our own. So, if you ever find yourself in the streets of Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, or any other Chinese city, consider taking advantage of their vibrant nightlife.
Have you ever attended an EDM show or festival in China? Share your experiences in the comments!