Beijing New Sound Movement

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Beijing New Sound Movement, (Beijing Xinsheng Yundong) also called '98 Rock's New Wave ('98 Yaogun Xin Lanchao)

A movement in the rock music scene started with Sober's first CD "It's Great!?" ("Hao Ji Le!?") December 10th, 1997. They mainly focussed on their virtueity in playing, their technique and experimenting with new sounds and influences of Western bands. The further bands that are usually associated with the "New Sound Movement" were founded between 1994 and 1998. Since 1997, all of them – though their styles are very different – have signed contracts with Modern Sky Records.[1]

"New Sound" is the "movement" of a new generation of musicians who are described as being financially relatively independent because of either their job qualification or a well-off family background. They do not carry the burden having to introduce a new art form into Chinese society as the generation before, and mainly regard rock music as a means for having fun (yule fangshi).[1]
The musicians of Beijing`s New Sound do not propagate rock as a liberalising force anymore. They just "do it" within a newly negotiated economic, cultural and socio-political space. Throughout this process meaning has, in a certain way, shifted from word to sound.[1]

As referenced in the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture:

Beijing’s New Sound Movement (Xinsheng yundong) is associated with rock musicians who grew up in the 1970s. It began around 1997, initially supported by the independent record company Modern Sky (MS; Modeng tiankong). The movement is both a marketing strategy and the product of young musicians who are less influenced by CCP policy than by the growing quantity of (illegally) imported international music products. MS was founded by Shen Lihui (b. 1970), a musician and art designer in 1997, when the first bands appeared in concerts. In December, his Brit-pop inspired band, Sober (Qingxing), released the first album on the new label. The company founded the sublabel Badhead in late 1998 and since then has grown into an influential enterprise. New bands were first introduced via compilation-CDs.[2]
In 1999 MS started to publish its own music magazine, which includes a CD of new releases. The package created a new standard for commercial music marketing..[2]
MS concentrates on the promotion of Third Generation internationalized music, and does not focus on one particular music style, but on creativity in sound and design, e.g. heavy underground sounds, pop-punk and folk-styles. The lyrics of the ‘New Sound’ generation vary from having fun to individual problems, alienation and bizarre reflections on urban society, while the movement combines postmodern avant-garde culture with music and art/design..[2]

Further information

Further reading

Kloet, Jeroen de (2001). Red Sonic Trajectories. Popular Music and Youth in Urban China. Enschede: Ipskamp.

Steen, Andreas (2000). ‘Sound, Protest and Business—Modern Sky Co. and the New Ideology of Chinese Rock’. Berliner China Hefte 19 (October), 40–64 (

Yan, Yun (1999). Beijing xinshen—New Sound of Beijing. Changsha: A Sonic China Project.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Sound, Protest and Business. Modern Sky Co. and the New Ideology of Chinese Rock.". Steen, A.. Retrieved on 2008-08-11.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 As apeared in Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture

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