“The basic gist is this. SMG (TV company) don’t have a f*cking clue. Bands turned up to see that no equipment had been provided at all. People were expected to plug cables into the PA board directly, a bad one at that and bands were told not to bother sound checking. The judges were SMG regular presenters with no music knowledge who made ignorant comments all night long, angering the experienced bands. Finally it came out that SMG had guanxi-siphoned the sponsorship money away too.”
Understandably, the contempt of the judges and the totally shoddy organization led to a stream of criticism from the local music scene. The Mushrooms’ Pu Pu led the way with an impassioned announcement in which he said “the situation has left me totally disgusted with this contest. This competition has no meaning […] what can be achieved by bands continuing in this contest?”
Over 100 people joined the thread to share their outrage and Yuyintang even created their New Faces night as a response to what quickly became known as “the Pepsi accident”. Any serious band in Shanghai decided to boycott the competition and it seemed the whole thing would just go down as a lesson on big brands and their misunderstanding of the Chinese music scene.
Imagine the surprise then, when it emerged that Pinkberry had won the thing. Turns out, despite adding their voices to Pu Pu’s initial announcement, Pinkberry had stayed in after all and with no serious competition left, the band eased their way through and performed on TV last night as champions. Naturally, this hasn’t gone down well amongst the bands who withdrew or amongst the fans who supported the principled stand taken by many against the Pepsi contest.
A new thread has sprung up in the Yuyintang group on Douban “congratulating” Pinkberry on their success:
“Congratulations to Pinkberry, who managed to make it through the many layers of screening and, with so many bands quitting the contest, withstood the pressure to triumph in the Pepsi band contest. I’m so proud of them.”
The resulting comments are likewise dripping with sarcasm.
We like Pinkberry a lot but it’s understandable why people may be upset with them over this. The Shanghai music scene has been built up on a community ethic – going against that community is never going to go down well. This is one of the main reasons there was so much controversy over SOMA’s deal with the Dream Factory. The same SOMA who, incidentally, recently signed Pinkberry to their Indie Top label.
Great that we’re going to have a Pinkberry album soon (provided SOMA doesn’t mess with their sound too much like they did with Momo and Little Nature), but they’d better not expect people to forget their participation in the “Pepsi accident” any time soon.