Soma take over The Dream Factory
Further update: read Jake Newby's take over at Shanghaiist: here
Update: I mentioned the news came by way of Splitworks and I can now link their take via China Music Radar: here
There's been a fair amount of blogging and events around Soma Art Management and their label, Indietop. In fact, it was my story of 2008 so I suggest you first read this summary with vids and links:
Please, read it, it's the best piece on the whole blog - in my un-humble opinion.
As regulars know, the scene has been growing. The smaller venues are now busy each week and rammed for better bands. At the end of last year and early this year we started to see a smattering of shows move up to the Dream Factory venue (5-800 capacity) with some successes. Most recently, Split Works packed it out for Battles and AV Okubo. And this is where the news comes from.
Soma have now done a deal with the venue that gives them exclusive use from Wednesday to Sunday. 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.
What the f*ck are they thinking? Are they really going to put on three events of their own each week? I don't think so. That venue was dying a death and now most of the people who were getting it going will be priced out. Why do they need to basically double the overheads for other promoters?
I honestly hope they can put on their own weekly affordable shows and fill them, but lets look at the track record. Since forming the label proper and signing the three Jiao Ban bands (after the July 2008 show), they have yet to release a single CD from any of them. They had one showcase gig based around a compilation that was mainly filled with guest tracks from non-Soma bands. The Indietop website is still advertising that show from January, by the way. The best shows by Momo and The Mushrooms have been regular slots at YYT on 0093 nights and in support slots. No 'Indietop' in sight.
This is a small scene based around city wide support and DIY culture. If people like Soma use money to aggressively compete with smaller venues and hijack bands for the pop market, it will screw it up. At this point, it just reminds me of Boonna Cafe 2. The landlord saw that cafe doing good business then upped the rent to drive them out, finally opening his own shanzhai cafe Bohxa in the same spot, but tacky and overpriced. An old school dick move.
Say it aint so.
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