30 May 2007

East Asian iPods

In Saturday's entry, I wrote about a recent deal between the People's Republic of China and a US-based private equity firm.

I suggested that the deal was a sign of some onrushing realities, and that the integration of the PRC with the rest of the world's economy would be THE big financial/business story for decades to come.

Today I wish to add a pop-cultural angle to that observation. AFP [Agence France-Presse] has a story on a new survey of the musical tastes of thousands of young people in Asia (defined as Taiwan, China, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malysia, India, Thailand and Indonesia). The surveyers asked them, in essence: what is in your iPod?

They seem to have been somewhat surprised that only two Western bands showed up as favorites -- Black-Eyed Peas and Linkin Park.

Even those two acts trailed far behind Taiwan's rapper Jay Chou, Singapore pop star J.J. Lin and Hong Kong's Andy Lau.

At a two-day gathering of Asian music industry bigwigs in Hong Kong, Ian Stewart shared these results with his peers. Stewart, VP of marketing and research at MTV Networks Asia, said "that Asians have more pride in their local artists."

From the AFP story, I can't really be sure what the word "more" means in that sentence. More than last year? a decade ago? It clearly means "more than the pollsters' expectations," but the story also characterizes the survey as the first of its kind, so strictly a trend can'e be established until someone does it again.

Still, the implication seems to be that the Orient has learned what it needs to learn musically from the West (and is listening to music on a technology developed in Silicon Valley, after all) but is now re-asserting itself.

Such self-assertion can get rocky, and the west ought to be ready for that. Maybe by listening to Jay Chou, J.J. Lin and Andy Lau?

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.