CHINA Podcast: Story in the Story (3/19/2020 Thu.)

CHINA

Podcast: Story in the Story (3/19/2020 Thu.)

People's Daily app

00:57, March 19, 2020

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From the People's Daily App.

This is Story in the Story.

Zhou Chenglong has been a disc jockey (DJ) for more than a decade but blasting beats at the bar where he works has been restricted lately.

"Who would ever think that I would be a livestreaming DJ on the Internet," said Zhou, music director of the Beehive bar in Shanghai.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, many bars in China have resorted to "cloud dancing" amid tepid business, which is a new experience for many DJs.

In the past, Zhou played music for a big, live crowd at the Beehive, but now he has to pretend to be performing in front of a lot of people.

"I feel like I have to be more active, even though there is no one around," Zhou said. "The cameras are relentlessly focusing on me, and my moves can be seen all over the Internet."

Today’s story in the story looks at how livestreaming has become a big hit in China during the epidemic.

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The livestreaming scene at the nightclub on Friday, where a DJ and his team present dazzling lighting and visual effects, as well as dynamic music. (Photo: XINHUA)

Dong Jie, video director at the Beehive, said that this kind of live broadcast is very different from live shows such as music festivals.

"For traditional live shows, 70 percent of the time the cameras focus on the faces of the audience to show the bustling environment, but there is no audience in the bar," Dong said.

Dong was a DJ himself for seven years. He later came up with the idea of having multiple cameras for livestreaming in the bar, in addition to split-screen technology during livestreaming.

"A close-up camera focuses on the hand movements of the DJ, while a big camera captures the entire stage and its light show," Dong said. "Several other cameras also zoom in on the DJ's face."

Such ways of DJ’ing warmed up the atmosphere in the bar and effectively grabbed attention on the Internet.

Since the Beehive began livestreaming its DJs playing music on Feb. 16, viewing streams have topped 700,000 on the Internet. Peak online participants exceeded 20,000, and the average number of viewers stood at 12,000. Most of the viewers are aged between 25 and 30.

Before the epidemic, the number of visitors to the bar stood between 1,000 and 1,500 each night, mostly aged from 25 to 40, according to the Beehive.

"In the first few days of the livestreaming, each viewer usually stayed in the livestreaming room for one or two minutes," said Zhuang Wanci, brand director at the Beehive.

To make them stay longer, the bar came up with a variety of themes, including interactive games such as "Guessing the songs" and the cardio exercise theme "Burning your calories."

"It's not just about playing the latest music singles anymore," Zhuang said.

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A staff member in a nightclub on Shanghai's Huaihai Road works during a livestream so that followers can enjoy online disco dancing on Friday. (Photo: XINHUA)

Some viewers even started chat groups and began sharing their lives with others while watching.

The livestreaming session generated revenue from online rewards from the viewers, Zhuang said, adding that they will possibly continue livestreaming even after the epidemic.

"In the past, competition was basically regional," Zhuang said. "Now it is a national competition as we go online."

On Feb 8, the Shanghai-based TAXX Bar launched an unprecedented "cloud disco dancing" session on TikTok, drawing tens of thousands to join. TAXX says the peak number of online participants stood at 71,000, and the club received total rewards of about 367,000 yuan ($52,893) after deduction of commission to TikTok.

The livestreaming became an instant hit and was labeled "cloud disco dancing" on Sina Weibo the next day.

Inspired by TAXX, many nightclubs in China have launched livestreaming sessions on various platforms.

At 10 pm, Lu Yiting in her pajamas turned off the lights at her Beijing home, tuned in a livestreaming music remix channel on her iPhone and danced to the disco beats.

"Online disco dancing, though not as intense as in nightclubs, offers an outlet for emotions, and adds some color to my dull, stay-at-home life," Lu says.

At the same time, thousands of miles away in the eastern city of Yixing, Jiangsu province, Xia Yun, 26, purchased some gifts for the DJ.

"Online disco dancing is more about entertaining oneself than socializing with others. Drinking a beer or two and sweating a little bit while dancing really helped to release some pressure," he says.

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Brian Lowe, Lance Crayon and Da Hang. Music by bensound.com. Text from Xinhua and China Daily.)


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