Sun, Mar 14, 2004 - Page 18 News List

A stage for their talents

The government says it won't stand idle as the pop-music industry declines. In response, it has promised to build three new venues specifically designed for popular music

By Max Woodworth  /  STAFF REPORTER

"If there are more international-standard venues, then more top-rate performers will put on concerts. We're working on the principle that one person attending a concert is the equivalent in dollar terms of two album sales. It's simply an efficient way to generate more revenue for the industry," Chen said.

The locations of the three centers have yet to be determined, but Chen said that the northern branch would be built in Taipei County and not in Taipei City because the city simply doesn't have space. Kaohsiung City will be the location of the southern branch, but the site of the central branch is up in the air, as Taichung City and County and other central cities and counties haven't established committees to scout locations and carry out feasibility studies.

Over the long term, the cen-ters are expected to administer a shot in the arm for Taiwan's competitiveness in Chinese-language pop culture, which the recent decline in album sales has undercut.

Tuan said Taiwan still retains the most experienced Chinese-language music industry personnel, from recording to marketing, but that without a resurgence in the market, these talents will begin to move elsewhere to find work. This threat notwithstanding, Tuan argued that potential big-name pop acts and other talent would continue to bubble up from Taiwan's vibrant independent music scene in the manner of pop-rock band Mayday (五月天).

"I'm aware that Taiwan has plenty of underground bands that perform in privately owned spaces. With this project we're telling people involved in music that we're willing to complement those with new ones that are publicly funded. We're just providing the soil for the plant to grow," Chen said.

For more information on the Mushroom Music Project and to offer opinions on the plan, check out http://mmp.cca.gov.tw

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