PK14 kicked things off last month, but, as I don't have cable I've only just come across the clips online now. The MTV China website is kind of a mess and there's not much information on the shows, but according to the ridiculously quickfire ad linked to in the characters above, Carsick Cars, Pet Conspiracy, Queen Sea Big Shark and Reflector are amongst those coming up. The clip embedded here is PK14 introducing themselves and talking a bit about the history of the band. Here's one of them talking about being, err, true.
It's all part of their MTV True series, which will also feature profiles of "True Heroes" such as Cui Jian and "True Live" - a weekly face-off between two acts performing live. Unfortunately, the True campaign has seen the bands bundled up with a bunch of pop stars as well and its the more mainstream acts who are the focus it seems.
It'd be interesting to see what being the Truly Talented band of the month actually means - how much airtime they get and when they get it. Does anyone out there have Chinese MTV on their telly and want to invite me over to watch it? Or if you don't want a drifter messing up your furniture, maybe you can say something about it in the comments below.
MTV doesn't have the same mass appeal here that it does in the West, but its audience is growing and they have been upping their coverage of underground bands recently. According to this article in Variety, the new keeping it real series is part of attempts from MTV China's new President to, in her words, "bring underground people above ground." Of course, this ties in nicely with MTV's attempts to be seen as edgy and ahead of the curve - an image it purveys here just as much as anywhere else in the world - but it'll be interesting to see how far it goes.
It still tops coverage of music here on other channels of course. I recently read about Chen Xi, the lead singer from Snapline appearing on Hunan TV. (Incidentally, their new album is available for free here, thanks SmartShanghai). Bearing in mind that Hunan TV are responsible for the Chinese versions of Pop Idol and Strictly Come Dancing, they are nevertheless known as one of the better TV stations who are willing to do things a bit differently. Relatively I mean. So was this some primetime, major network exposure for Snapline?
Was it fuck. After finding a clip, I realised Chen Xi was on a dating show with his girlfriend. When he mentioned he was in a band the hosts tried to coax him into giving them a song. He was reluctant but ultimately delivered a couple of lines of Jenny (the band's name never got mentioned), which the hosts then labelled boring before cracking out a guitar and allegedly showing him how it's done. Compared to that, MTV's efforts seem pretty revolutionary.