Power To The People

Fans in China seemed to have successfully – and publicly – pressured a promoter into paying a band that said it got stiffed after a gig.

China Music Radar posted an interesting item in late November illustrating how things sometimes work in China’s nascent concert industry.

A local group called Mr. Chelonian performed in Tiger Beer’s Battle of Bands in Beijing last summer, organized by AMC Group, a major promoter in Asia.

Prior to the gig, AMC had transferred 10 percent of the band’s performance fee into its bank account, with the balance to be transferred after the conclusion of the event. But the money never materialized for months afterward, despite Mr. Chelonian’s constant pesterings.

So in early November, the band posted a question about the delinquent payment toward AMC on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

The next day, apparently, all the other bands that played at the event received their money but not Mr. Chelonian, so the band again called the organizer directly and was told they would receive the remainder of their fee as soon as they deleted the Weibo post and put up another one with an apology.

The band refused, and instead elaborated on its mistreatment on the microblogging site, which was then re-posted 2,300 times, generating 400 additional comments, almost all in support of the band.

AMC’s own response on the site was reposted only 70 times, and most of the attendant comments were critical of the company and supportive of Mr. Chelonian.

Less than 24 hours later, the band posted another message saying they had finally been paid in full.