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    Rock Band Mayday Faces Music Over Lip-Sync Claims at Shanghai Gig

    While the popular Taiwanese band’s management company denied any allegations of lip-syncing, authorities in Shanghai have launched a probe.

    Popular Taiwanese rock band Mayday is being investigated for allegedly lip-syncing during a concert in Shanghai, a claim that has triggered widespread debate and became a top trending topic on Chinese social media over the weekend.

    State news agency Xinhua reported Monday that the Shanghai Cultural and Tourism Bureau is working with the event organizer to conduct an investigation into the allegations of lip-syncing, a practice banned in China. 

    In a statement Monday evening, Mayday’s management company, B'in Music, strongly denied the allegations of lip-syncing. They described the online accusations as “malicious attacks and rumors” and stated that these claims have seriously damaged the band’s image. The company also confirmed its cooperation with authorities and expressed confidence that the investigation would set the record straight.

    The allegations stem from a post made on the video-sharing platform Bilibili last week by a popular vlogger named Maitian Nongfu, who claimed that five of the band’s 12 songs performed at the concert were lip-synced. In the video, Nongfu stated that he had used software to analyze the band members’ vocals during the performances.

    The controversy gained traction last Thursday when Nongfu’s post appeared on the trending search list on the microblogging platform Weibo. By Sunday, the issue had escalated, becoming a major topic of discussion on Weibo and amassing hundreds of millions of views.

    Nongfu’s influence on the platform increased too, with his follower count reaching approximately 55,000, following which he published two more videos analyzing the Mayday concert, which drew almost one million views. He has produced nearly 200 videos, mostly with an emphasis on live music performances and audio equipment. 

    In his video on Mayday’s concert, Nongfu claimed that the vocals fluctuated between being out of tune and suddenly in tune within the same song. He argued that such a significant variation in the quality of singing is unlikely in a single concert. 

    In China, lip-syncing is strictly prohibited in commercial performances. Regulations explicitly forbid performers from deceiving audiences by lip-syncing, pretending to play instruments, or similar methods. Furthermore, regulations mandate that concert organizers appoint dedicated personnel to supervise and prevent any lip-syncing during the events.

    Yu Long, director of the Intellectual Property Professional Committee at W&H Law Firm, told domestic outlet Cover News that organizers and performers implicated in lip-syncing could face penalties or have their licenses revoked. Additionally, audiences have the right to seek compensation if it is proven that lip-syncing took place.

    A recent poll on Weibo asked, “Should fans be compensated for lip-syncing?” Over 90% of the survey’s 67,000 participants agreed that fans should receive compensation for lip-synced concerts.

    This isn’t the first such controversy for the band. In 2007, Mayday faced similar accusations during a concert in Xiamen in the southeastern Fujian province. Then, the band had attributed the alleged lip-syncing to technical issues with the microphones, sound system, and computer technology at the concert venue. They expressed feeling “hurt” by the doubts raised about the authenticity of their performance.

    Editor: Apurva. 

    (Header image: Taiwanese band Mayday performing in Shanghai, November 2023. IC)