When we mentioned last week that Soma were looking at opening a live music venue in town, we never thought we’d be posting the following story: Soma have done a deal with the Zhijiang Dream Factory giving them exclusive use of the venue from Wednesday to Sunday. According to local music scene aficionado Andy Best:
“If a different promoter wants to use the venue they will now have to either split the ticket sales 50-50 or pay 15 000 rmb up front. This essentially cuts out the majority of other music promoters and makes the venue their own.”
In the paragraph following the above quote, Andy succinctly summarises the feelings of many on the music scene in Shanghai and we suggest you read his comments.
Soma, via their alternative label Indie Top, have a solid stable of young, promising local artists. Yes, they packed the venue out for the launch of their first compilation CD, but that was a special event that a lot of people wanted to see succeed. Ultimately, some fans left disappointed that night at the poppy direction the bands had taken under IndieTop’s management.
We’d sincerely love it if Soma were able to put on regular local shows and fill out a venue the size of the Dream Factory but, honestly, we don’t see that happening. Split Works have been doing good things there of late with foreign headliners and Chinese support but, aside from the Split-backed Maybe Mars showcase, the only Chinese headliners to get anywhere near filling the venue have been New Pants and Subs – two of the biggest names in the underground game who have built up a following through years of live shows. Otherwise, the Dream Factory has mostly been notable only for its over-priced beers.
We wish Soma luck and hope they prove us wrong, though they may want to think carefully about the logic of pricing out other promoters in a scene that largely relies on a community ethic.
All change in Shanghai [China Music Radar]