Hard NOTCH life

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tumblr_kx7lmgrJNu1qakvjto3_400.jpgYou've probably not noticed, but this week has seen a bunch of NOTCH events going on in Shanghai. NOTCH is the Nordic + China festival or art, music and other creative stuff that's been happening in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou since 2006. They were the ones who did those gigs in the greenhouse with Neocha a few years back. Generally what happens is, they bring in some acts from the Nordic countries and pair them with local bands for some pretty decent gigs. As I say, this year was their fifth time doing this, so it's not just another Expo bit on the side event.

Why do I mention all this? Well it's been a bit of a mess. On Wednesday, they brought over electronic pop princess Annie. She's pretty well known and has an accessible sound that audiences in China would get into andit should have been a pretty big deal. Except there was no publicity. We ran an interview with her in the magazine because we happened to find out she was coming, but otherwise there was hardly any promotion done at all.

Unsurprisingly then, hardly anyone showed up on Wednesday night. Worse, most of those who did show up missed Annie's performance. She was the only act on that night - there were no support bands or artists, meaning there was no CH part of the event at all. Not only that, but she went on at 8.30pm. Most people (logically) had assumed the doors were at 9pm and that the headliner wouldn't be on for a while after that - pretty standard for gigs here. Anyone who turned up at 9.30pm, caught the end of the last song.

So what happened? Annie and the band were, understandably, pretty pissed off about the whole thing. The NOTCH people too, were not best pleased apparently, pointing the finger at MAO Livehouse for not promoting the event properly. MAO Livehouse, in turn, are unimpressed with how the organiser (apparently different to the one used in previous years) has handled the whole thing and blamed them for the lack of publicity. 

It all seems a bit of a shame, with the upshot of all these recriminations being that NOTCH are pulling the show scheduled at MAO for Saturday and neither party are keen to work with the other again.

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wow, why does MAO always seem to have issues? their website is super wack and when was the last great show there? you might have to go back to the maybe mars showcases. i kinda wanted to go to this show, but i'm glad i didn't try. happy birthday, mao.

So Mao hired a new organiser for the event. As their contractor/employee it's still their resonsibility to make sure he's doing his job well, right? How difficult would it been for them to check how the publicity for an event at their own venue was being handled? Not very imo.

Stevo, I believe it was NOTCH who used a new organizer this year, not a new Mao employee. Mao only promotes their own shows. If you're an independent promoter, they don't care how the publicity is handled, as they're either getting a fixed fee for renting out the venue or a guarantee of a minimum number of tickets sold.

Here's how it works:
The venue splits ticket sales with the promoter 70/30 (or even 60/40)
The promoter signs a contract including a minimum guarantee. 300 tickets, for example.
The venue is now guaranteed 4500rmb (50rmb per ticket * 300 tickets * 30%), plus whatever they make from the bar.

Mao generally way over-estimates the minimum (how many 300+ shows have they done?), so the promoter ends up breaking even at best. In the above example, the first 90 tickets sold all go to the venue. Anything after that pays for printing fliers and posters ... oh, and maybe paying the band's cab fare.

no doubt that NOTCH should get a local promoter for their events. they can't only rely on themselves or the venue to achieve everything. and they should put themselves as a full-time organizer.
NOTCH gigs are getting worse these two years. rather than invite some weird but good jazz groups like they did before, they have done so many dance/electronic parties with only a few audience during the latest two NOTCH festivals...don't understand why they still can get sponsorship without seeing any benefit from the festival itself

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