About mirandalincheng

Hello, I am Miranda Cheng from Taiwan (R.O.C) and a postgraduate student studying in Music Industries. I was trained as classical musician since childhood, I am still interested in the different genres of music.

Assignment1 Blog5-Pop Taiyu (Taiwanese language) songs as postcolonial nostalgia in Taiwan

Taiwan has undergone several economic, social and changes through its cultural history, the colonial history can retrieve back to 400 years ago when Dutch and Spanish reached the island in the 17th century. Han Chinese of Ming dynasty and Qing dynasty dominated the land during 18th-20th century, then by the Empire of Japan and then R.O.C government after the world war two. Therefore, Taiwanese music reflects those issues of the history changes in their own way with a mixed style.  Taiwanese music integrates in Chinese folk culture and many indigenous tribes with their own distinct artistic identity, various styles of folk music are appreciated in Taiwan(Wikipedia).

 

Postcolonial research has been officially launched quite late in Taiwan; it started until the lifting of martial law (1949-1987) which was announced by the ROC government. The compose of Taiyu ge, also called Taiwanese songs, can be traced back to the 1930s (Chun,A. Rossiter, N. and Shoesmith, B. 2004).During that period of time when Japan colonial rule, there appeared the Taiwanese musician at that time such as Yang SanLang(楊三郎) and Ye Junling(葉俊麟)who had created several classic Taiwanese songs which the previous generation like my grandparents feel enjoyable to listen to. Those Taiwanese musicians can be seen as the great masters in first generation of pop Taiwanese music.

However, these Taiwanese songs were hard hit during of ROC government policies when KMT took over Taiwan after Japan government for lasted four decades. The ROC government’s propaganda promote Mandarin and declared its legitimate status for the only representative of China compared to greater Mainland China which was controlled by communist. Therefore, popular music in Taiwan also reflects this. For years, Taiwanese pop songs were repressed despite there were some mixed-blood songs which used Japanese pop songs but filled in Taiwanese lyrics during 1950s to 1960s, and then were almost forced underground eventually until 1990s(Chun,A. Rossiter, N. and Shoesmith, B. 2004).

Nowadays, Taiwanese pop fell into two distinct categories Taiwanese pop was sung in a native dialect and was popular among older and working-class listeners; it was strongly influenced by Japanese enka. On the other hand, Mandarin pop, due to the assimilation policy of the authoritarian Kuomintang regime (1945-1996) that suppressed Taiwanese languages and culture, appealed to younger listeners.

 

The music texts and the elements of music that artists created are influence by the development of the society. The music and national identity of Taiwan has also been closely related. On account of the controversy and confusion of national identity between the name of states “China” and “Taiwan”, the development of music production can be discussed in the context of national identity.

The energetic power of nostalgia phenomena boost after the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) became the leadership of the government, which emphasize the local art, local ideology instead of the great China concepts. Local Taiwanese, once taught to embrace “Chineseness”, have begun to state their own, local culture identity. •Numerous stars who once made their names as Mandarin singers are nowadays switching to recording in Taiwanese. The increased presence of the Taiwanese language in the electronic media, and the popular music which makes use of it, is part of a wider social trend(Chun,A. Rossiter, N. and Shoesmith, B. 2004).

. The county government have even introduced compulsory Taiwanese language courses into school courses, and it is strongly encouraged to make music with not only in Taiwanese, it can also be the Hakka or aboriginal languages despite the Taiwanese is the majority.

To sum up, Taiwan identity has always been an important topic in the discussion of Taiwan’s cultural traditions. It is not only an abstract issue of historical discourse, but also profoundly affects the experience of the different classes of Taiwanese people. At a period when questions of historical identity are still very much at forefront of political debate in Taiwan, Popular music, even that with as little political content as the bars songs of the Taiyu ge repertoire, can now find itself at the heart of discussions about Taiwanese identity at various levels or society(Chun,A. Rossiter, N. and Shoesmith, B. 2004).

 

References:

Chun,A. Rossiter, N. and Shoesmith, B.(2004). Refashioning pop music in Asia. London: RouledgeCurzon.

Music of Taiwan. Available at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Taiwan

History of Taiwan. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Taiwan

 

Assignment 1 Blog4-Music into politics, politics into music

Music, as part of culture in the society, has significate connection with politics and ideology, or even the social movement. Popular music has been connected explicitly with social change and political controversy(Peddie,2006). We can see hundreds of examples about the music works which relates to politics at all times and in all countries,no matter from ancient to modern or from eastern to western societies.It can be protest songs, anti-war songs, national anthems and so on.

According to the Peddie(2006), musicians are involved with politics in one of two ways which may be linked. The first describes the case of people who happen to be musicians, and as such have acquitted a public presence, or status, which they use to support candidates. The second captures the case of those who use their music to express their political views.

Many pop stars spent most of their time not engaged in politics, most pop artists are not making political statements or gestures(Peddie,2006). It has been regarded as sensitive issue when artists reveal their ideology toward politics. Especially in the authoritarian era, any types of demonstration could ruin an artist’s career. Even in the democratic society in most of the countries worldwide nowadays, many artists, especially those who the mainstream media often reported are keep silence about the political points of view in case the risk of being offensive to their loyal audiences and commercial benefits. In some situations, artists who are invited to perform in public by the political organization or official government accidentally irritates other political groups or opposite political stance. For instance, Taiwanese most popular diva A-Mei had been blocked and restricted to perform in China for at least four years by PRC’s government for just singing the anthem of ROC (Taiwan) on the inauguration of new president.

However, it can be noticed that there are still many examples about artists who actively promote their opinions or ideology toward politics or the controversial issues. Like Peddie(2006) had suggested that pop stars features prominently in campaigns about nuclear weapons, civil, gay and women’s rights, famine, environmental issues and so on. For instance, U2 has collaborated with other musicians, artists, celebrities, and politicians to address issues concerning poverty, disease, and social injustice since the early 1980s ; Elton John, Damon Albarn, Billy Bragg and countless others have signed public petition against the war (Peddie, 2006). In Taiwan, we can see the example about musicians who engaged themselves in politics despite the case are usually in underground or indie musicians or bands. Chthonic is the post famous metal band that actively appeared in the Taiwanese political scene and showed the supportive perspective to independence movement of Taiwan and the singer Freddy Lim even have promoted the Free Tibet Concert in Taiwan. For this left-wing political stand, it has been banned in parts of China for their political views.

All in all, since music is part of life from the day we human being exist, it has recorded multi-aspects of lives of people and been connected explicitly with social changes and political controversy. (Peddie,2006).

 

Peddie, I. (2006). The Resisting Muse: Popular Music and Social Protest. Hants: Ashgate.

Music and politics. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_and_politics#Classical_music

Chthonic. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chthonic_(band)#Activism_and_lyrical_themes

Assignment1-Blog3 The monopoly of transnational recording corporations in Taiwan

The recorded music industry is essential to the music industries. With the internationalization of the recording industry, many record companies of European and America have been restructured, merged. However, the large transnational record companies with abundant capital still have influential power which not only have large market share, creative resources including singers, music producers, songwriter, etc., and attempt to monopolize recording industries in small or developing countries.

In 2010, the Big Four shared 76.8 per cent of the global market in physical and digital recorded music sales, with Universal Music Group having the greatest market share, followed by Sony Music, Warner, and EMI (Anderton C., Martin J. and Andrew D., 2013). These transnational record companies have established their branches in Taiwan, have no doubt laid the foundation for the development of the music industry, but have also changed the ecosystem of Taiwan’s original record industry. For instance, the arrangement of foreign songs with Chinese language lyrics has appeared, and also gradually impact the form of music in Taiwan and become westernization. The major recording companies are not only horizontally integrated, which means they have expanded their businesses by merging with other record companies (Negus, 1999), they are also vertically integrated which means that they own many corporations specializing in other areas such as pressing plants and distribution companies in the music industries. This integrated business model makes them retain control over as many aspects of the production chains (Anderton C., Martin J. and Andrew D. 2013).

Diing(1999) argues that to find out why Taiwan’s record industry has been internationally monopolized, it must trace back to the 1980s when the international economic and political power had imported into Taiwan. These power has led by United States of America, GATT- WTO and international record groups. The models of there intrusive procedure are described as following:

  1. International record companies actively collaborated with local record companies.
  2. By means of strong international trade and economic means launched by GATT-WTO, directly forced Taiwanese government rebuild the international intellectual property system according to their instructions and request to open the market.
  3. International record companies were allowed to set up branch offices in Taiwan, the implementation of localization policy, a large number of domestic record companies to absorb music talent and well-known artists, and further control of the country’s production of music culture. In the longer term, the localization strategy of the multinational records group is to make profits from the “Greater China Market” with enormous economic value. In other words, the purpose of localization is not to respond to local cultural development, but to the potential commercial interests.

When the transnational music record groups have become the core leader of the music market in Taiwan, it is meaningless to directly intervene in the monopoly of the multinational record companies and the infiltration of the music culture. Relatively speaking, I think our government should actively take some policies, discern what the problem are and promote local music culture as hard as possible, pay more attention to local popular music education, music activities and festivals, and actively support the local record company which creative diversity music products to compete with transnational company.

References:

  • Anderton C., Martin J. and Andrew D. (2013).Understanding the music industries. London: SAGE.

Assignment1 Blog2-The Ideology of Independence 

Weekly covered:  DIY Music Cultures&Cultural Activism

In the late 1970s, and early 1980s British punk and post-punk artist and companies absorbed the ideology of independence into their do-it-yourself aesthetic (Anderton C., Martin J. and Andrew D., 2013). After the digital age arrived, a new generation of indie music waves have even blossomed around the world.

The introduction of a do-it-yourself aesthetic may be interpreted as the democratization of the recording industry. For example, many of punk and post-punk companies adopted unconventional business practices in line with their anti-corporate beliefs. Indies are often characterized as giving complete autonomy to their artists, who are then free to develop their own creativity rather than be pressurized into producing overtly chart-friendly music (Fonarow, 2001:35).Basically, the majors were considered to be profit-oriented and musically conservative whilst the independents were regarded as more diverse in their music output, and willing to take risks on creative and innovative artists(Anderton C., Martin J. and Andrew D., 2013).

Independent music in Taiwan can be traced back to the earliest underground band and the period of time when indie  had risen all around the world in 2000. Approximately in 2000, the term “independent music” in Taiwan gradually replaced the word “underground band”, became the name of the non-mainstream music.When Taiwanese rock band “Lutan” won the Golden Melody Award and “Mayday” has gained huge commercial success, underground band began to be widely known. The indie music has been presenting the increasing visible atmosphere and continuous improvement of momentum, some people began to advocate that the band should be able to move forward on the ground, perform their own recordings and hold their own activities in order to actively promote themselves of the fame to audiences and attracting more people to join them. This ideal combined with the European and American “independent label” concept then soon made the birth of Taiwan’s indie music.

If indie music refers to the production process which including the creation, recording, publishing, all completed by the musicians or the band themselves, then independent music should not merely represent one musical style. It can be psychedelic rock, post-punk, post-rock, rap, death metal or any other types of music. Therefore, the definition of indie music could be “the mode of making music” rather than the style of music. In fact, The concepts of indie can be seen in other fields. In addition to music, we can find the similar ideas are in the publishing, art, games and other related fields such as independent bookstores, independent art galleries, independent games.  

Independent music, as part of the sub-culture, has its unique status and value. Even today, the evolution of digital technology continues to affect the relationship between people and music, and this wave of indie music is still expanding. Independence is not simply described in music; it relates to the process of self-pursuit. Therefore, independence can also be set up as a phenomenon in the culture and other aspects. Independent film, independent musicians, independent artists are the different forms of indie ideology. However, this distinctive word can certainly be used but should not be abused (Vincent ,2015).

References:

Assaignment1-Blog1: The future of digital music distribution and online music marketing

Weekly Topic covered:

Music and Materiality,  Music Distribution and Consumption, Digital Music

For decades, the use of the internet has impacted on music distribution and consumption. It was clear that traditional models for music distribution were about to be overturned (Sparrow, 2006).The influential MIT economist Lester C. Thurow suggested that the crisis brought by the internet that happened in the music industry first. Therefore, it can be noticed that the global record industry has been actively involved in the digital music market in recent years. Digital distribution of music is an essential area that worth analyze and this area presents how people discover, purchase and make meaning from music, and how they order, share, and experience music (Anderton C., Martin J. and Andrew D., 2013). Online music stores which selling music to the public by using an online music distribution service which may be regard as brokers and also distribute music to numerous retail outlets such as major digital music download and subscription services, online CD retailers (Biermans, 2007).

The sales revenue of the physical music has declined because the digital music service spread extensively in music industry for the past decade. With the mobile networking devices gradually popularity, the ways that people listen to music have also been changing. According to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) announcement (2012), the digital music revenues in the UK overtook those from physical formats which caught up with the US and China whose online digital music distribution were already taking the main role in revenue resources. Therefore, Music is not doomed, it is just that the way it is being consumed is changing. Nowadays, there are two ways of digital music consumption which refer to access and ownership, and both ways have important developments (Alan C., 2012). Music Access includes music steam services like Spotify or KKbox which provide people to listen to music without archiving it while music ownership while music ownership means people pay to download it for only once then own it forever which is similar to the old model of music consumption.

While website marketing is highly important to a successful e-commerce strategy (Sparrow, 2006), music distribution or label companies have to use the marketing strategies to stimulate customers’ desires of consuming. For instance, providing free downloads with low bitrate mp3s then hope that buys will end up paying for a high quality mp3,  but has to gate the content to get something from the downloader which might include social actions such as sharing and likes it on the facebook (Alan C., 2012). In fact, music as essential in social experience, and can even be regarded as a form of art or expressive ourselves, it is the niche of popular music business to use online music stores combined with a variety of internet application or network functions such as instant messaging, e-mail, BLOG, social media, and integrate the music distribution with mobile phones, MP3 Devices and other hardware so that users can enjoy the music by to show the value of self-sharing with the community.

I think that digital music has become the dominant way to listen to music. As the industry begins to get to grips with new technology we can expect to see musicians and record labels do a better job of marketing, distributing and monetising digital music online (Alan C., 2012).

 

References:

 

Week3-Music Archive

“Are you Chinese?”

“No, I am Taiwanese although I speak Chinese.”

“But you look Chinese.”

“Ya, my ancestors were from China.”……

These are common and repetitive dialogs when Taiwanese explained to others when living overseas. Taiwanese has been struggling with the issue of self-identity for years because of the complicated political factors between China and Taiwan. However, to conserve or to archive the culture heritage, we have to know exactly who we are and recognise the history and the culture of the land we live.

The basic of Taiwan music culture is definitely Chinese culture, despite its roots in China, Taiwan has developed in a unique Taiwanese way, especially mentioning the indigenous Taiwanese music. About forty years ago, a group of young Taiwanese scholars and musicologists have launched a “folk song collection movement” which featured in finding Taiwan cultural roots trip. They carried a simple luggage, but with a heavy tape recorder, trekking on the pathway in in-depth remote villages which were in the undeveloped mountain regions from northern Taiwan to the south. They recorded the precious voice of aboriginals and folk musicians’ rustic performances. Their field research lasted for two years, leaving a large number of traditional music of Taiwanese aboriginal and Han for future generations.

With the task of introducing the archive work of popular music in week 3, I found many Taiwanese scholars have already made a lot of efforts in archiving music through the process of collecting information, no matter in contemporary  or traditional music these years. The following three websites (or facebook) are the archive work of Taiwan’s music data.

  1. Digital Archive Center for Music, NTNU

This institute was established in 2004. The principle objective was to aid the NTNU College of Music in making a record of important events and activities and digitizing its historical archives. In order to increase international visibility and accelerate scholarly exchanges, the Digital Archive actively participates in conferences and workshops both in Taiwan and abroad. DACM has now advanced and professional visual-audio recording equipment and post-production editing systems, the ability to make live concert recordings on multi-computer engineering systems, a shared multimedia server as well as a computer lab with an independent server. In addition, DACM possess all of digital archiving technology which is necessary for music and have the ability to record, engineer and edit short films, teaching films, audio-visual productions and make high-quality sound and video recordings of live concerts. The Center has already completed fifteen main projects, including with National Digital Archive Programs of National Science Council, Taiwan Music Institute and other industries.

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  1. The online database of Taiwanese Musicians

The website a page of Taiwan Music Institute which is built by Taiwan National for traditional Arts is aimed to collect, preserve the characters, images, works, books and audio-visual materials of the Taiwanese musicians, and to integrate the existing database, research projects and related publications of the music museum which to provide many Taiwan’s important information main characters of music. In addition, the platform also provides the opportunities and environment for people who want to expand music knowledge of Taiwan, or enhance the understanding of Taiwanese musicians.

The information of musicians is catalogued into three types: musicians of traditional music. western music and popular music in different generations. On the page of each musician, the background and important music works are introduced. The timeline of musicians and related links of other music archive website are also presented on this website “the online database of Taiwanese Musicians”.

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  1. Wiki Popular Music of Taiwan

The Website is founded by a Taiwanese artist and art critic who actively promoted the search and collection of historical materials of Taiwan’s popular music. On this website, the history and the celebrities in Taiwan popular music are introduced precisely. The institute had been engaged in the projects such as interviewing the pop musicians, archiving the database of Taiwan popular music history database, and publishing magazines relating to Taiwan popular music.The future plans are to design a project “Taiwan Pop Music Exhibition for the hundred years” which is expected to be held in 2017 at the Taipei Museum of Contemporary, and established the popular music digital music software museum of Taiwan.

To sum up, there are more and more Taiwanese contribute to music heritage preservation and archive distinct and varied music treasure of this beautiful island. As  Taiwanese, we should cherish what we have and to be proud of the music culture we opposed.

 

References:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-radio-and-tv-15153707

Digital Archive Center for Music, NTNU(國立臺灣師範大學音樂數位典藏中心)

http://dacm.ntnu.edu.tw/main.php

https://www.facebook.com/dacmntnu/

The online database of Taiwanese Musicians(台灣音樂家名錄)

http://musiciantw.ncfta.gov.tw/index.aspx(The online database of Taiwanese Musicians)

http://www.ncfta.gov.tw/taiwanmusic_74.html (Taiwan National for

traditional Arts)

Wiki Popular Music of Taiwan(台灣流行音樂維基館)

http://www.tpmw.org.tw/index.php/%E9%A6%96%E9%A0%81

https://www.facebook.com/taiwanpopmusic/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week2- Music Heritage

Music heritage is a malleable and broad term. In my opinion, it can refer to an aspect of the culture and art, which is also our legacy from the past through the years. It also presents what the previous generation have left, what we have today, and what we pass on to future generations. It is just like another intangible asset of the world, which is part of the history among varieties of tribes in different countries. Everywhere has a history and everywhere has a music heritage.

Taiwan(officially name R.O.C), where my hometown is, has a diversity of ethnic groups populated here. Therefore, the music heritage of Taiwan reflects the diverse culture of Taiwanese which includes the music of Hakkas, Hokkien, aboriginal Taiwanese, mainland Chinese. As the country rich in Chinese folk culture and many indigenous tribes with our own distinct artistic identity, various styles of folk music are appreciated in Taiwan. Many of the cultural traditions in music which Taiwan has preserved are related to ancient Chinese music. For example, it includes the performances of “yayue”(雅樂) or ancient Chinese court music, some were even 3,000 years old. It died out in China, but was painstakingly researched and revived by Taiwanese. In addition, Taiwanese puppetry (hand-puppet theatre) and Taiwanese opera, two genres of spectacle that are strongly related to music, are very popular, while the latter is often considered the only truly indigenous Han form of music still extant today. The government also invest multiple genres of instrumental music includes Beiguan(北管)and Nanguan(南管). Nanguan originally hails from Quanzhou Province in China, while it is now most common in Lukang, the township on the west coast of Taiwan, and is found across much of the island.[¹ú¼Ê]£¨2£©°ÍÀ軪ÈË:ÄÏÒôÇìÖÐÇï                             pic1.Nanguan Music players

On the other hand, Taiwan used to regarded as an important Mandopop hub. For instance, Asian superstar Teresa Teng originated from Taiwan in the 1970s and 80s was loved by people  in the Chinese-speaking regions. Because of her fame and popularity, a foundation was established in Taipei, Taiwan to commemorate her after she passed away. As to young pop idols in recent years, celebrities like Show Luo, Jay-Chou, A-Mei and Jolin Tsai, A-Lin, etc., have become the most famous and popular singers of Mandopop. For the music band, Mayday, Seraphim, and Chthonic etc., are said to have pioneered rock and metal music in Taiwan for the generation of youth. Taiwan’s pop culture is already one of its biggest exports to the mainland and expatriate Chinese communities. Those I mentioned above are seen as precious music heritage in Taiwan.

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 22.01.40.png

Pic2.Famous Taiwanese singers Jay-Chou and A-Mei.

      I think why Taiwanese popular music artists become so popular is because of the free atmosphere and abundant music heritage which have provided Taiwanese artists the environment to make creative and experimental music production. However, the problem of piracy and the development of digital technology have impacted the original music industrial mechanism and the market directly lead to shrinking rapidly. On the other hand, the rise of the market in mainland China and huge market opportunities have attracted many Taiwanese music professionals to invest in mainland China. To overcome the depressing situation, our government made some policies and plan to help solve this problem, including establishing the Bureau of Audiovisual and Music Industry Development (BAMID) in 2012 for the purpose of supervising and promoting film, broadcasting, television and popular music of Taiwan.

In week two blog, we are asked to think about the strategies to promote the music of our hometown. My plan includes three parts: First, making a project of international music festival featured in Taiwan’s popular singers, local indie artists and music bands to the BAMID. Except for the domestic music artists, outstanding groups from abroad are also invited to the festival, allowing locals to experience music from other countries. Second, integrating the tourism industry, venue companies, curatorial organizations of music festival. Lastly, holding the lecture workshop, and conferences during the music festival, inviting the specialists in the music industries to discuss the different aspects topics of music condition in Taiwan, no matter in the traditional one such as Beiguan and Nanguan, or the popular music, or even the crossover music.

To conclude, even Taiwan is a small country but there are so many abundant resources in music. For me, holding the international music festivals and activities, then having the Taiwanese musicians and artistic appearing on stage, or providing them to participate in international important music award is the best way to promote Taiwan’s heritage.

 

Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Taiwan