Alas, there was no “Gangnam Style” in sight! The problem is that the closest thing Taiwan has to Psy is President Ma, an actual “bumbler.” If only reality could sell as well as parody.
Seriously though, at a recent public discussion on Taiwan’s music industry, Underworld shareholder and Fu Jen University professor Ho Tong-hung (何東洪) remarked, “Production costs for albums used to be undertaken by record companies. Now it’s quite clear that the major source of funding is the government.”
This is obviously a big, multi-faceted issue, but as the government considers renewing this cultural budget, they should realize that in addition to showering money on artists, they need to think about their greatest cultural assets, the real communities of musicians and fans. Creating a proper legal framework for live houses should be a no-brainer. Underworld, Legacy and other top Taiwanese music venues continue to operate in legal gray zones.
Allowing music venues to sell alcohol is politically sticky, and Culture Minister Long Ying-tai (龍應台) and Taipei City culture chief Liu Wei-gong (劉維公) have both dodged the issue. That a country can turn a blind eye to widespread prostitution in karaoke parlors but not legally allow young people to drink beer and listen to rock and roll at the same time, what should we call that? How about Ying-jeou Style!