Under China’s notorious “Great Firewall,” many foreign websites are blocked in the country, and those that are not blocked are known to operate suboptimally. The latest music-related website to join China’s ban list is Bandcamp, an online platform that allows artists to directly market their music to their respective fanbases. In recent years, Bandcamp has become vital resource for indie labels and musicians, specifically.
Although the Chinese government has not provided an official reason for the ban as of February 24, 2021, it is likely due to the government’s inability to restrict certain content within the site, a power the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) maintains over China-based entities. However, this is not reason for Chinese artists to be discouraged. The overwhelming majority of creatives in China have access to VPNs that allow them to circumnavigate the Great Firewall and access restricted sites, as the author of this article is doing right now to write this article from Shanghai.
The news of the ban was originally broken by Resident Advisor. Fellow Shanghai-based producer Swimful contextualized the ban and its implications, stating,
“Generally in China, if you make more than minimum wage and are interested in anything to do with art, music, technology, etc. you will have a VPN, and you probably never turn it off if you’ve set up the application filter. You can’t even reliably install a driver for a soundcard without a VPN, because all foreign sites—even those that technically aren’t blocked—are painfully slow on a normal Chinese internet connection. I’d go so far as to say that probably every Chinese label that has music on Bandcamp will have a VPN, and every artist on those labels will have a VPN and thus practically speaking, it won’t change anything.”
Via: Resident Advisor
Featured image: Drew Litowitz for Pitchfork