Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Western pop music in Vietnam: from “social evil” to status symbol

My latest post for the Financial Times' Beyond Brics blog:

Throaty song-writing legend Bob Dylan and 90s teen favourites the Backstreet Boys might not have much in common as far as most music fans are concerned.

But both are playing big gigs in Vietnam over the next few weeks as music promoters test out the appetite for expensive, international standard entertainment.

Communist Vietnam has opened up rapidly over the last twenty years and Western pop music has been off the list of “social evils” for some time. But the live music market remains relatively undeveloped and only a handful of international artists have played in Vietnam thus far.

In a country where many would count themselves lucky to earn $100 a month, you might wonder who will be willing to pay $50-$120 for a ticket to the Dylan and Backstreet Boys gigs. But that’s well within the reach of status-conscious urbanites, who have been splashing out on iPhones, fancy cars and sleek scooters for a number of years.

Read the rest of this blog post over at the FT's Beyond Brics, which is free to all comers.

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