Pepsi Battle of the Bands 2009

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Pepsi Battle of the Bands 2009


General information

Music groups are seeing unprecedented growth in China, music festivals are popping up everywhere and the concept of the band has become a new force in the mainstream music scene. As part of this trend, Pepsi is holding a big contest aimed at “encouraging young people's passions” and “finding the voice of a new generation.” - Self description according to Shanghaiist[1]

The event will be broadcast on Zhejiang Satellite TV over seven months as it scours the country for China's next big rock act. Winners will get a “Platinum” set of instruments (including a Fender guitar and electric bass and a Mapex drums percussion set), a 200,000 RMB “training fund” and a national concert tour related to the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the P.R.C. The first round of competitions will be held from May to June in 21 cities. After the pool is narrowed, the show will host four regional competitions on June 11.[1]

This has been put together by the creators of “Wo Xing, Wo Show”, the long running Chinese “American Idol”. They have sold it into Zhejiang TV and Pepsi simultaneously as something that reflects the changing state of the Chinese music market. China West’s Steve Sybesma is an executive producer.[2]


General coverage

The VOXROCK blog was set up around June 4th 2009. However, according to an analysis undertaken in July 2009, the general social media reach of the whole event was by far low compared to other reality band casting events in Chinese TV.[3]

Shanghai Fiasco

May 8th, the Pepsi / SMG TV bands show ended its first show in a fiasco with an outrage in the music scene. As Andy Best informs: In fact, it was so completely balls in every way that prominent scene figures are making official statements and debates are raging in various threads around Douban.[4] Two of those making official statements had been YYT's Zhang Haisheng and The Mushroom's singer Pupu.[5] May 12th, another statement was issued by Helen Feng, who had been hired to MC the event: One day before one of these MC gigs, I asked (to the sponsors) ” Do you likerock music?” The answer was “No not really, but I read a book about it.” I just smiled and said, “well that’s good.” Suddenly I wanted to shout drink Coca Cola.[6] However, despite joining Pupu's statement on Douban, Pinkberry stayed in the competition even though most other bands pulled out, and finally won the competition for Shanghai.[7]

An (official?) statement regarding the indie boycott of Shanghai bands was posted on July 28th on the Voxrock blog mostly using quotes of Abe Deyo.[8]

Guangzhou accident

According to China Music Radar, substandard production at a Pepsi competition in Guangzhou (on July 18th) resulted in several people being injured when the stage capsized.[9] A couple of days later, Pepsi issued its first response, expressing that the accident caused only minor injuries instead of previously rumoured possible deaths as might have been thought of due to a circulating video showing the falling LED screen.[10]

Further information

Official pages


  1. 1.0 1.1 Elaine Chow (2009-04-03). "Pepsi sponsoring China "Battle of the Bands" contest". Retrieved on 2009-08-23.
  2. admin (2009-04-01). "Pepsi Announce Battle of the Bands, proper style.". Retrieved on 2009-08-23.
  3. Rand (Little Red Book) (2009-07-15). "Pepsi; So-So Social Media Campaign.". Retrieved on 2009-09-09.
  4. Andy Best (Kungfuology) (2009-05-09). "Pepsi / SMG TV bands show a predictable fiasco". Retrieved on 2009-05-09.
  5. Announcement on Douban
  6. Helen Feng as reported by China Music Radar (2009-05-12). "More big brand BS". Retrieved on 2009-05-12.
  7. Jake Newby (2009-06-08). "Pinkberry and the Pepsi pullava". Retrieved on 2009-08-23.
  8. unknown (2009-07-28). "INDIE BOYCOTT: ABE DEYO WEIGHS IN". Retrieved on 2009-08-23.
  9. admin (2009-07-22). "Big Accident at Pepsi Competition…". Retrieved on 2009-09-23.
  10. Anita Davis and Benjamin Li (2009-07-24). "Pepsi hits back at concert 'death' rumour". Retrieved on 2009-08-23.

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