Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Here’s some news from Google’s beloved Mainland China:

“Chinese pop stars rely heavily on these types of commercial performances, which make up more than half of their income.”

“Huang Feng, who used to work for Warner Music China, says artists have to turn to big brands, such as Apple, Nokia and Levi’s.

The big firms get popular bands to promote their products, and the bands also benefit. ‘If they choose you, you can use their money to promote your own image to market your songs,’ says Huang. “

It’s simply astonishing how the press accepts uncritically the idea that it’s OK to rob artists blind and then let them hope they get picked by some corporate sponsor like a girl waiting for an arranged marriage.

Thanks to Lawrence Lessig, the Man from Google, and his Generation L there may never be another Bob Dylan who can become a commercial success because it was hard enough for Bob Dylan to keep is record deal for the first couple albums until he found an audience. It is very, very unlikely that a Dylan would ever have been able to get a corporate sponsor to support him on his own terms.

It is almost a certainty that there will never be a Bob Dylan in China. Of course, there may have been a Chinese Bob Dylan, but he was probably murdered by the government–maybe using Google’s tools. The good news for Chinese artists who survive the onslaught of commericalization is that it’s kind of a life insurance policy. They’ll never be controversial enough to be murdered or disappeared by the government as long as they are mainstream enough to get a corporate gig.

But then if Google will snub the Human Rights Caucus of the U.S. Congress, why should they care about some measly artists? Gulaggle?