posted on February 27, 2008 14:34
Getting Chinese businesspeople to be specific in an interview is hard. Yet it's even harder to get the country's rock impressarios to say anything worth recording. I've been talking to Xiao Zhu, the chief editor of So Rock! magazine, ten years coming off the presses down in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province, a few hours drive out of Beijing.
Xiao is a smart, funny editor who like many Chinese interviewees likes to talk by msn rather than phone. To grab attention he once ran a cover featuring a smiling Jesus and the headline in English 'Jesus Loves You But I Think You're A Cunt, as reported on the ever-observant Danwei.org.
Anyway, here's a nugget from our chat:
What's the circulation of your magazine? "The circulation of a magazine is like the age of a woman. Sometimes you can get a straightforward answer from the woman. But you should be cautious that she may lie to you. Every time when I am interviewed by media, I will neither tell the truth nor lie to them."
That was the highlight of an otherwise banal chat. But Xiao did make one salient, and sad, point about the rock scene: "China's famous painters can sell one of their paintings at a price that equals the sum of the copyright royalties of all the rock bands and singers in China."
The rest of the chat was mostly unusable - full of nothing.
Who reads So Rock!? "Students take a high percentage of the magazine’s readership. But our readers become more and more diversified. They work in very different areas."
Where does a rock fan or band in a small town in the provinces find out about you?
Our contact information is on the magazine. Any bands or singers who would like to be known among rock music fans can contact with us. We have been bridging the gap between the industry, the music fans and the musicians.
Xiao is ambitious. The magazine’s sales volume has “much potential.” But he's also an artist: "the core value of a magazine is not only in its commercial success. Personally, I hope the magazine can maintain its soul and mission and then grow to a music giant by improving slowly and constantly."
Fed up with such innanity, I've called him and we've got a proper face-to-face interview set for next week. Wait for it.