Media regulation

Coming soon: a license to sing

The Ministry of Culture and other government departments are finishing up a new framework for certifying culture and arts professionals. The Beijing News ran a Xinhua story today under the headline "If you want to be a music or movie star, you'll need certification":

...this implies that from now on, working in cultural sectors like film & TV, singing, and dance will require certification.

The cultural industries professional certification will become a basis for cultural work units to contract and hire talent as well as assess rewards and punishments....reportedly, more than 30 occupations, such as film director and singing performer, have been listed as belonging especially to the cultural industries, the national standards, exam question banks, and reference materials have already been developed....

Wang Qing, party secretary of the MoC's Cultural and Artistic Talent Center, said that the promotion of a professional certification system will maximize the selection of qualified talent to join the ranks of cultural workers. At the same time, it will work in broader society to cool down all manner of talent events that are being conducted for commercial aims. Reportedly, appraisal of professional talent in the cultural sector is directed at all people working in culture and the arts, as well as students majoring in the arts at culture and art institutes and other tertiary institutions; those who pass the test will be issued a uniform national professional certification. In three to five years, certification for entering the cultural sector and for being employed in cultural work units will gradually be implemented.

Wang seems to be saying that once producers and agents can recognize talent merely by glancing over a professional certification, there will no longer be any reason to air programs like Super Girls and Happy Boys. Already vulgar and indulgent, according to SARFT earlier this month, it now appears the shows are ultimately irrelevant.

Reactions from observers are translated at China Media Project.

Update: More reactions and information: Talent shows applaud the new professional exams; everyone else scoffs, Ministry of Culture explains the culture certification system

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There are currently 4 Comments for Coming soon: a license to sing.

Comments on Coming soon: a license to sing


Why not let the market decided?

Air enough of them surely people will be sick of them...

@ Jay the Fool

Letting the market decide? That's far too easy...

@ everyone

Does this mean that effectively, the government could be trying to lock in boy bands & mando-pop style music for the immediate future?

What's a real rock band supposed to do?

it seems to me that the professional certification is a new step of the past procedure. years ago, singers and musicians in places like night clubs were supposed to perform with so called a performance permit issued by local cultural bureaus. inspectors would now and then appear at such spots to check the work permits of performers. but such a policy was never successful. inspectors could easily be corrupted. these nine-fivers wouldn't like to go out every night. and as night life flourished like mushrooms over years, manpower was always a problem and the cultural bureaus did not have cash to keep a big team of inspectors.

so the system gradually died a natural death. but the yearning to control everything dies hard.

the government is always good at issuing such orders for certifications. but enforcement will always be a problem. if they failed to enforce their previous rules, it is equally possible that they will not be able to watch performers and regulate markets this way this time.

just thunders. where are the real rain drops?

another point: chinese people are always good at examinations. they can certainly pass examinations and get certificates. never doubt the brains of singers, dancers and musicians. what could stop them from tasting the allurings of night clubs?

another immediate problem these inspectors will face is how to check out all these artists who will appear at cctv's next year's variety gala on the eve of the chinese spring festival. that you are an employee of a troupe does not necessarily mean you are state-certified to perform.

if cultural authorities are serious, probably they will first issue memos to television program producers notifying them that as of today, all performers, professional or otherwise, should be certified or these show programs will face the music.

if departmental infighting flares up, the new certification call will probably be outlawed.

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