Since Cui Jian‘s success in the late 80’s the first real explosion of Chinese Rock lies back in the early 90’s with the first and 2nd generation of Chinese rock bands such as Tang Dynasty, Black Panther, Cobra, The Breathing, Overload, The Face, The Compass, Again, etc. Huge rock festivals were already a main plattform for new artists back then (e.g. Gongti in Beijing or Hongkan in Hongkong), the only difference was that the audience were more caught up with the whole long haired and noisy sound sensation that has never been there before. Soon, the music industry (if you can call it as such at that time) realized, this new hype wasnt a sustainable path to go for when it comes to revenues.
The 2nd wave of Chinese rock music came after it all chilled down a bit during the 2nd half of the 90’s. New clubs, bands and also DIY underground labels/magazines/online communities started to emerge at the beginning of the new millenium with less mass-impact but more reality-awareness. Bands has gone through copy-cat-learns-to-rock processes to original creativity and individual identity.
Ever since, Chinese rock music has been long enough considered as non-profitable and nobody really supported or used it to have a significant influence on it from the commercial side of the business. So rock musicians can do what ever they like on their music path and remain widely untouched or unspoiled. But the flow of time in recent years has changed this situation a bit. Not only festivals have their impact on widening the horizon, also newer films and tv productions are starting to use local chinese rock music more and more, giving it the same more exposure and requirements for expressive quality as festivals do.
Of course it always has a certain negative side to see the small beautiful landscape of rock gets exploited by a bust of attention in tourism style, but thinking for the poor citizens of Rockia it is acutally a good thing and the right extra nutrition needed for them to thrive. Even though some will bend for more revenues and eventually loose some of their originality or go for compromises, but still most rockians will remain on their path since these changes dont come in such a might that could over roll the realm of diversity and independence, at least not in the fashion at the beginning of the 90’s where there were only a hand full of rock bands who has been sucked up into the machinery of big labels trying to remodeling rock formations into pop music mass production and there for destroyed them in this attempt. And also, underground bands have seen enough weird business models to coupe with labels and media companies in the past that didnt work out well anyway, they dont go for new try-outs that easily anymore, especially not if it doesnt suit to what they have in mind. I guess most rockians would have learnt from early lessions and know better what reality is these days.