Monday, July 13, 2009

my experience in the taiwan music industry

the folllowing all happened to me.i will testify in court that all i have said is true.

1989- went to live in houston chinatown. opened english school. was inspired to go to asia from watching HK movies at the chinese movie theater. became famous at karaoke club for singing.

1990- while working at a chinese owned ice cream shop, one morning while i was washing the windows a man in a suit came and sat down at the table behind me outside. he was an asian man, dressed in a suit that was very conservative. he looked like an IRS person. he said from behind me "you like working with chinese people don't you?" i said yes. he said good, took his newspaper and walked away without looking back.
in chinatown there were rumors that i worked for the FBI. i was asked this seriously by more than one person.

1993- after sending demos to japan, i was getting mail one day, when a man called out my name. he said" are you (my name)" i turned around, and saw an asian man, shorter than the one before. he just ran off when i turned around. he didn't even wait for me to say "yes i am".

1997- i issued all the papers to get a performance visa in taiwan. taiwan government only gave me a travel visa. they said i could get one when i got there. afterwards i found that was not true.

1997- in the immgration office renewing my stay, a cop saw me pull a record company person's name card from my wallet. he took the card without asking me and called the guy on the card saying "listen here you CANNOT hire this foreigner on any record do you hear me? it's against the law!!" (actually it is not wth the proper paperwork).

1997- was introduced to EMI executive. after hearing my demo he said "if i give you a contract, are you willing to leave taiwan?" i said " maybe hong kong?". he said "no leave asia. go to europe. you cannot stay in taiwan". {EXACT WORDS]

BMG said they had a rule not to hire any really strong foriegners because the foriegners would raise the bar and cause the companies to actually have to compete. he said the companies had a rule not to compete to strongly against each other. they said the companies even trade songs with each other.

1997- while sitting outside Mc donalds on min chaun east road (i was sitting on a concrete thing outside) there was a lady, taiwanese, sitting inside McD who looked at me, kind of flirting. i nodded back at her and turned my head down to bite my hamburger. i looked out of the left corner of my eye and there was a white man, blondish, sitting at a table outside, signalling to her, something like "tone it down". i looked up and saw her doing something like "ok ok," then she saw me watching her do that and she totally stopped moving and smiled at me. i grabbed my bag and ran, leaving McD. my heart was pounding very fast.

one of my guitar solos from my demos was lifted directly and placed in a pop song during this time. i had listen to my solo a hundred times so i know what i played. it was my solo.

** also the practice of B version CDs was revealed to me. this is where a person sings a song and copies it so directly that it is ALMOST indistiguishable from the original. then it is packaged AS the original singer and sold. i have even heard these versions on ICRT. (i beleive the reason is to make the really great performers from the west appear not so great so that taiwan performers do not appear so lame). the taiwanese small companies recruited many foriegners to do this too. i refused.

1998-200ish- appeared on many foriegner talk shows and dissed the record companies' practices.

2003-ish i did a contest at ***** pub. the boss said she liked my music and asked when could i come do a show( i also won 2nd palce in that contest). i went back a few weeks later and she said, oh i need your demo" i said "you already said you wanted me to perform for you. i just came to get back with you on that" she said "i have to hear the demo. i didn't hear your music so clearly that night so i can't make a decison." then after i sent the demo she said she was all booked up. i asked again maybe a year later and she said she had never liked my music.
i will always feel someone told her to not let me play.

was schedualed to appear on a radio show, to play my song and also discuss the industry. the radio guy immediately called up a guy to appear with us. the guy began to defend the industry vehemently, starting off the interview by calling me a racist name.

2003-4 ish- i played substitute for a band in a pub, the boss asked me to play solo. after i did he said "listen don't play too well" i said don't worry i can't play too well. he said "no i'm taiwan you can't play too well"

last company i sent to was Warner. bascially all the companies have said that they wil not risk money on a foriegner or cannot because they have a rule.all companies have offered to buy out my songs, but i refused because i protest this system.

all thru this experience- if i have am booked on a show, they put me near the end. always.or i get bumped.

basically my experience. i hearby affirm that all i have said is true.


  1. hi randy, i stumbled on your blog while trying to research music in taiwan online. actually i'm personally interested in doing music in taiwan as well, so i found your stories really interesting (though off-putting as well). would you mind sharing more with me about your experience? do let me know, thanks!

  2. thanks for coming by. baically what was happening is basically market protectionism, aka localization. i think i attracted atttention from various authorities in the US because, hey, a white guy living in chinatown sticks out. that got their attention, and they have a responsibility to check stuff out. i hope they don't suspect me of anything ridiculous, because my goals are simple: to produce music in the place that inspires me (taiwan).

  3. it's weird that they made such a big deal out of it. couldn't you take any legal action since your solo was directly taken out? that's a really scary and downright wrong thing for an artist/musician.

  4. basically taiwan doesn't care about IP, despite their occassional sweeps of offices to check for bought versions of microsoft windows.

    all of asia either paid for technology that it has now or outright stole it. the japanese government sent MANY industrial spies to the US during the 80s and 90s.

    in asia, the idea that stealing shows that you are smart is prevalent, ie " we let those foriegn devils waste energy creating it, then we steal it, so we are the smartest". etc

    yet this cannot answer the question of why NONE of the major creations of the modern world came from asia. they cannot create, they can only copy, and this is not just me saying this.
    true asia INNOVATES. that is their strong suit. but they do not CREATE.

    even the so called major inventions of china are really not far removed from the stone age. they were creative, but survival based.
    in short if you want to compare chinese culture to Western, western culture is a Mag Lev train, chinese culture is a jin rik shaw.
    i say that not be mean or racist or anythign like that. it is just to illustrate how DAOISM and CONFUCIANISM has engendered the inability to think, only to follow established cultural lines of thought.

  5. in short they cannot create, and can also not admit that they can't, as that would fail to meet the goals of the social architects in taiwan, who wish to prove that chinese culture can do the same as western culture in the modern world.
    though chinese culture is valuable in it's own right, it's value is one that is less tanglibale, more of the heart.
    to try to use chinese culture to reproduce what the west has done will not work. it wasn't built for the job.

  6. After reading THIS post, I really don't understand why are you still living in Taiwan?...Seriously!

  7. they drew first blood, hence this site.

  8. Hi man,

    I love this blog, btw.

    I also thought that i am going to win, hehe. But after 4 years around, i just try to focus in not losing, and that's hard enough! (music industry/entertainment here is a bad joke, really) Your comments are very interesting to me cause i am also in both music/martial arts circuit. I wonder if we know each other!

  9. i'm planning a meet up one day in taipei, so if we don't know each other, we will!^^

    thanks for coming by!