88tc88 Helps Indie Artists Get ‘Big in China’

88tc88-logo88tc88 is a Berlin-based music startup that helps outsiders distribute and sell music in China online, via mobile and in physical forms though they appear to have most fully developed mobile opportunities. They work with indie artists, labels, aggregators and publishers including translation and government approval services. Currently 88tc88 is the only company of which I'm aware that provides such a complete package to indie artists and smaller labels.

I have been meaning to take a closer look at 88tc88, who I first found out about when they became Hypebot sponsors, and was reminded to do so by a post at Tech in Asia. I've been following China and business issues in China for a number of years. Though I decided against actually moving there, due to concerns related to pollution, human rights and Web censorship, I think it's well worth musicians' time to begin exploring the possibilities in a nation that has a huge consumer market as it continues its move towards a more open society.

That said, from a period of intensively following China Law Blog, it's quite clear that the difficulties of doing business in China are almost impossible without a Chinese partner or a foreign company developing relationships with Chinese partners. That's why I think 88tc88 is definitely worth checking out whether you simply want to distribute your music there or hope to establish awareness as a prelude to touring.

88tc88 is developing partnerships with numerous Chinese companies on an ongoing basis. In June they announced a mobile deal that allows them to now reach all mobile subscribers including iPhone subscribers.

They also offer such all important services as translation of content into Chinese and administration of the process of gaining government approval of your content. Given that the government will ban music without offering specific reasons for the ban, such approval is a necessary aspect of selling content in China.

While there are many arguments against doing business in China, if you're considering those opportunities, you might enjoy reading Alan Paul's "Big in China" about his experiences raising a family and starting what became a successful blues band in collaboration with Chinese musicians.  And, if you're ready to make it happen, it looks like 88tc88 would be a great partner in introducing yourself to the Chinese music market.

Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at All World Dance and This Business of Blogging. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

Note: 88tc88 is a Hypebot advertiser.

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  1. This is kind of a weird plug for 88tc88. The writer admits to never having worked in China for various reasons – influencing factors which need to be experienced which also shape the music industry as it evolves there. He also points to the book, Big in China, which has been derided by certain circles of the music industry in China as a source of information and bases his theories on the music industry in China on a law blog.
    The biggest problem in China has been exactly these kind of theories not translating on the ground. Exhibits: Google, eBay, Yahoo, Groupon, AOL, Live Nation Part 1, Ticketmaster etc
    *shakes head*

  2. It’s not a plug. It’s my take on the situation.
    Can you share some of your experiences or point to some sources that support your claims about my “theories” not working on the ground?
    I have quite a few exchanges with one of the lawyers at China Law Blog whose represented numerous companies in China. Those comments aren’t theories. Given that the Chinese government censors content, having help with that doesn’t seem so theoretical.
    “certain circles of the music industry in China” is pretty vague. Given that I regularly encounter music industry professional in the U.S. who disagree strongly, I think disagreement is normal.
    In any case, the book is just meant as an interesting approach to thinking one’s way into China. If you take just one source or one book, you’re not going to know much. I thought China sounded pretty cool until I found out more than anyone I’ve talked to that hasn’t lived and done business there and realized what a hellish place it is in many ways.
    Obviously someone doing business there, like the folks at 88tc88, would know more than someone like me who isn’t unless I gathered info from lots of people doing business there beyond what I’ve gathered.
    I tell you not only what I think but why. I also give you my sources and am willing to share more if needed. That’s more than most writers do. Certainly more than you’ve done oh anonymous one!
    But feel free to school me. I’m always open to learning more from people who can show they know something rather than people who simply make vague criticisms. So far you haven’t taught me anything.
    If you do, please share something relevant to indie musicians. For example, the ex-Disney exec that filled me in on some of the problems big corporations were encountering regarding getting money out of the country vs. what I learned from an indie music guy moving money in and out of the country were very different.
    So, if you know something relevant, share it. If this is just therapy, get a therapist!

  3. Thanks for the mention of Big in China. Google Alert brings me some cool info. Not sure why it took them so long to find this. If anyone has any questions about my experiences or the book, feel free to drop me a line through my site – http://www.alanpaul.net. Even happy to discuss the issues that have fueled some criticism. Nothing to hide!

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