There’s a rumor that Nicki Minaj will perform in Shanghai as part of an electronic music festival planned for November. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I’m spreading it, because I’m pretty sure that’s how rumors become true, right?
I would LOVE to see Nicki Minaj live. I like artists like her — who are bombastic and over the top and oversold right out of the gate, and then take every opportunity (that often have nothing to do with music) to make any amount of money immediately after. I’m not being sarcastic. Music careers are short, y’all. I think a lot of people who become artists think it will last forever but the smart ones are like, “Cash now, please.”
I do, however, think that Universal Music Group has exploited her to the extreme, in a way that is bad for her, bad for women, and bad for music. But on the other hand, she makes some pretty crackin’ tunes so I guess it’s all good. And she seems on board with the exploitation, because it’s easy to sleep on a pile of money (I’ve heard). So the point is, I would go see her, because she puts on a show.
I really, really hope, though, that she is not out-priced for the audience here. In the last two years or so in Shanghai, some pretty big names have come through, albeit with mixed results. It’s so cool that so much more international music is making its way to this part of Asia, even if they are people I would be a little snooty about in America (Pitbull? No thanks). Because it’s just cool to see Chinese young’uns have access to music that 10 or 20 years ago was nonexistent to them.
But the big problem is, to get huge artists over here is more expensive and difficult than say, North America or Europe, and the ticket prices that you can charge in North America and Europe are not ticket prices that you can charge in China. Even though places like Shanghai and Beijing are booming, the vast majority of the country still lives in poverty, the major cities included. So bringing over Aerosmith and selling tickets at 280rmb to 2660rmb ($44-$420) just doesn’t work. The 280rmb tickets are the only sellers and then you’ve got a stadium meant for 20,000 literally filled with 200. And the show gets canceled.
China Music Radar has an excellent post about the whole situation here. There are a few promoters working to bring mid-level acts to China on a regular basis, at prices that college students and young people and music lovers (both Chinese and foreign) can afford to pay, which is doing more than all the Aerosmiths in the world.
And maybe you don’t think it’s a big deal. Like, who cares if you don’t get to see Aerosmith? But honestly, it’s the trickle-down effect. Before anyone makes music, they have to be able to hear and see it. And you don’t see a lot of 40-year-olds picking up a guitar or drum kit for the first time (though if they do, awesome). It happens when you’re young, so yeah, it’s important to music that young people actually get to listen to music. At a reasonable price, dammit!
In short: Nicki Minaj = awesome and I want all of Shanghai to see her.