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Gwendolyn Ng
Saturday, Jun 14, 2014

Showbiz

Mandopop's uphill battle

The Straits Times | Gwendolyn Ng | Saturday, Jun 14, 2014

Members of Taiwanese girl group Popu Lady, (front, from left) Bao Er and Liu Yu-shan and (back, from left) Hung Shih, Da Yuan and Ting Hsuan, reportedly underwent training for a year before making their debut in 2012

Mandopop groups are being squeezed by K-pop bands and falling record sales

Whither the Mandopop group?

Gone are the kind of debuts that Taiwanese boy bands such as F4 and girl groups such as S.H.E once enjoyed, with massive crowds turning up to see them and buy their albums across Asia.

Mandopop groups these days are facing an uphill task in making their mark in the music industry.

Snazzier South Korean pop exports and a slump in the Taiwan music industry have led to a squeeze for wannabe Mando-popsters - especially if you are not a solo singer and counting on safety in numbers in a packaged act to appeal collectively to fans.

Due to poor physical album sales and digital downloads, most Mandopop record lables now are finding it tougher to invest in grooming new groups, says Mr Colin Goh, co-founder and managing director of home-grown record label Ocean Butterflies Music.

Successful acts making it beyond the shores of Taiwan in recent years have largely been solo singers, such as piano-plonking singer-songwriter Yen-J and powerhouse singer Jia Jia.

For instance, Yen-J played to a 10,000-strong full house in the Taipei Arena in July, and went on a world tour that included a stop in Singapore in January.

Singer William Liao, who is part of Taiwanese boyband Lollipop@F, made his group debut alongside three members in 2010.

They were formerly from six-man boyband Lollipop.

He and some bandmates re-grouped and underwent 200 days of intensive training in 2010 before relaunching as Lollipop@F.

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