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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Chopsticks Brothers Coming to The US

The Chopsticks Brothers comprises of Wang Taili and Xiao Yang, the Chinese duo that created the song called Little Apple. After its debut last summer, the song became an absolute sensation in China. According to the latest news, the video of the song has become a viral hit because it was played a total of 823 million times on the major video and music streaming websites of China. The simple lyrics, bouncy tunes and the outlandish settings such as the two stars dressed as village sweethearts amidst the Korean War, as aristocrats of ancient regime on the beach and even naked in the Garden of Eden has ensured that the song is everywhere.

It has even been used in a recruitment video of the People’s Liberation Army. Now, the Chopsticks Brothers are coming to the US and are people ready to see them? It was reported by Chinese media that the duo are one of the performers at the American Music Awards this Sunday, along with several other notable stars including One Direction, Fergie and Mary J. Blige. It is quite a big deal to be able to perform Little Apple with such A-list stars and that on prime time and not just for the singers, but also for China as it is the first time that a Chinese song that got viral will be performed on a global stage.

This could act as a breakthrough for the soft-power campaign of the country, which involves the attempt of the entertainment industry of spreading Chinese culture all over the globe. Chinese leaders understand the influence of Hollywood on the world and are envious of the US for this reason. Therefore, they wish to showcase their performers for softening the image of the country. Furthermore, the campaign isn’t just focused on songs; Confucius Institutes are also being promoted, which aim to teach Chinese culture and language.

However, the saga of Little Apple has a different kind of shortcoming for the soft campaign of the country. Even though the song is a huge hit on Beijing-based video service YOKU, this doesn’t guarantee it global popularity. Granted that giants like Xiaomi and Alibaba have invested in YOKU, but this may be because there is no competition as censorship in China by the Great Firewall prevents access to Twitter, Facebook and most importantly, YouTube in the country. Thus, YOKU isn’t watched by a lot of people outside China and the only way a song can be considered a global hit is if it is popular on YouTube, Google’s video service.

Little Apple is only a novelty song there as it garnered about 1.6 million views in 5 months whereas Taylor Swift’s video of Shake It Off gained 280 million views in three months. Even the video of the celebrity impressions by Benedict Cumberbatch managed to get 4.2 million views in about four days. Armed with several links, Little Apple or any other Chinese song will have a long way to go if it wants to become a global hit.

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