FakeMusicMedia is an event promotions and artist management/bookings agency. For example, FakeMusicMedia helped one of China’s most successful international bands, NOVA HEART, to break and booked them to 4 continents. EARS talked with FakeMusicMedia’s co-founder Philipp Grefer about Chinese music preferences and the future of music festivals in the country.

Hey, who are you and what do you do?

My name is Philipp Grefer and I’m the co-founder of a music agency called Fake Music Media. We do promotion, concerts and bring bands and artists into Asia. I’m also a DJ and we have a small festival called M.A.D.

What is the history of your company?

About four years ago we brought the first band from Berlin to China. The first concert was quite successful so we decided to do it again. Over time we have expanded from doing concerts in Beijing to doing them in many other places as well. Later our company became also a booking agency bringing artists to all around in Asia and then found this festival called M.A.D. The company grows quite organically.

Has people’s interest in Western music grown in China?

Yes it has, definitely. I can see it clearly in the audiences. When we did the first concerts in 2009, there were around 500 people listening and 80 per cent of them were Westerners. If we would do the same concert here today, 80 per cent of the people would be Chinese. So the people’s music interests have changed quite a bit.

The percentage of domestic independent music as well as international music is growing

What kind of music do the Chinese listen most at the moment?

Well, that’s a good question. Still today I would say that 90 percent of the market is Mandopop or Cantopop. K-pop is also a big thing but all kind of pop music is very popular. The percentage of domestic independent music as well as international music is growing. You can see that in the festivals where there is a lot of indie music, rock music and electronic music coming together and 20 000 people are coming to these festivals.

Not all Chinese festivals are built to be long lasting

The festival field has grown rapidly, how do you see the future of the business?

It’s going to be a bit tricky as not all festivals are built to last long. A lot of local government money has been put into these festivals but there will be a lot of cutting of the government funding for these festivals because of corruption suspicions. The market is big enough to be sustainable, the question is only how many people buy tickets in the end and how the sponsors are going to react. A lot of times things work this way in China. First you take two steps forward as something is growing. Then something changes in the field and you take a step backwards. Then you have to wait a little bit until the field finds a new balance and then you can go forward again.

What are the biggest differences when doing projects in China compared to Germany?

Well, there are so many differences! It’s completely different. The media for example, Facebook is blocked, Twitter and Youtube are blocked, so you have to localize all the content to the media platforms here. Promoting shows is very different. The media is different, people’s attitudes are different, how you deal with the local government or regulations is different, I don’t know where to begin frankly!

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