Chapter 7 Entering the Fray
In order to prevent theft, the submitted rough-production samples were all encrypted with the company’s internal encryption software. After receiving it and decrypting it, Duang started listening to it.
After a while, Duang looked at the file Fang Zhao had submitted, as his tightly frowning brows relaxed and his eyes flashed. Unexpectedly, even his face was revealing a rare smile. “Unexpectedly, he might pull it off swiftly.”
Having looked after so many rookies, even without any talent in composition Duang could distinguish whether a song had potential or not. Although the sample was not perfect, and the production was also relatively rough, he could make out its specifics by merely hearing a short segment.
When the production of this song was finished, it ought to achieve good performance. At least it wouldn’t be too unsightly.
Duang was quite satisfied with Fang Zhao’s song submission. It was not in vain that he had put pressure on the boy and fought for ten days.
After listening to the sample, Duang sent an SMS to Fang Zhao, “Come down to the company in the afternoon, and have the song recorded right away.”
Even though the improvements brought about by the technological innovations had greatly shortened the production time, the earlier it was all completed, the more relaxed Duang would feel. This season’s Rising Talent Competition is all but finished. If he still doesn’t hurry up and enters… Don’t tell me he wants to eat dust, ah?
After hanging up, Duang contacted someone from the Operations Department, “Help me reserve a publicity slot for a new song three days hence.”
After setting up appointments with the Producer, the Operations Department, etc., Duang asked his assistant standing at the side, “Are there any idlers among the newly signed signers?”
“Regarding singers… Four graduates have been contracted, three already have plans. There’s one more, but his recent state of affairs doesn’t seem to be too good.” The assistant seemed to be shrinking his neck as he replied.
“Not too good?” Duang’s brows once again furrowed. He was very annoyed to hear this. The concept ‘state of affairs not good’… these five words were quite broad.
“Seemingly had… break–…break-up,” the assistant answered, and lowered his voice as he saw Duang’s black complexion.
It was only natural for Duang to be in a bad mood.
Who have they signed this year? Acting like a manchild as if it was a matter of life and death! He was here to bring up rookies, not to babysit children and to console them if a ghost came around!
“There is no need to worry about one or two!”
In this line of work competition was so fierce, the seasonal fights so ferocious… Who still has the leisurely frame of mind to consider your mood? Do you think you are some superstar? Want solace?! Look for your parents and go cry to them!
The hardships faced by a rookie are suppressed, who doesn’t want to boil over? Nobody will care what happened to you, you will just be given an opportunity. If you manage to grit your teeth then I will help you climb over, if you can’t endure this pressure then just get the fuck out of here pronto!
“Tell him that I called for him!” Duang’s voice was brimming with gunpowder.
“Yes!” The young assistant hurriedly withdrew. He couldn’t stay there to confront the irritable Duang.
Duang’s words seemed like open fire or an explosion. The members of staff working under him were all trembling, none of them daring to be even the slightest bit sloppy, lest they be fired in this outburst.
Having received Duang’s notice, Fang Zhao rushed over at once. From the Unified Construction Buildings area to the Downtown, it took him more than half an hour. This was a time with substantial improvements in transportation technology. If it were during the apocalypse, in a mere hour one wouldn’t be anywhere near to the Downtown. If one encountered traffic jams, then the trouble added up, making it normal to take two to three hours for the same distance.
Silver Wing Media had a 150-storey building the center of the city. It was nearly 800 meters tall, with a pair of huge silver wings suspended atop the roof. As far as height was concerned, this building could not count as prominent in this area, since there were many buildings taller than the Silver Wing building. However, representing one of the three major entertainment companies, it was quite famous.
The people in the building hurriedly came and went. No one cared for Fang Zhao’s small transparent figure. The important people had their own passageways. Fang Zhao could only use the elevator dedicated to the ordinary members of staff.
Duang was on the twentieth floor. When Fang Zhao arrived, Duang’s saliva was splattering at the trainees.
Across from Duang, there was a twenty-year-old young man who was obediently listening to the scolding with a smile. He didn’t dare to wipe the spit that was being sprayed on his face, repeatedly vowing to Duang, “Certainly, there won’t be a next time. Definitely won’t be! I’ve already been training for three days, and my throat is absolutely ready to sing! If you really don’t believe me, then I will sing for you…”
Duang cut short the other’s intention to prove himself. After sweeping his sight across Fang Zhao at the door, and seeing him in good spirits rather than depressed as he had imagined, his mood became slightly better.
“Ok, don’t talk nonsense. Quickly start preparing for recording. The rookie competition list has almost been finalised. If you all don’t enter, then don’t even think about entering top 100, let alone the first 50!” Generally speaking, the first one hundred rookies on Yan Continent’s Rookie Rankings who were promoted by the three major companies would not be dumped. After all, the three major companies had their own resources and promotional channels they could make use of. However, those under the hundredth place had their contracts terminated.
According to the procedure, Fang Zhao needed to submit the written songs to the company, after which the company chose the singer. He had signed the contract with the identity of a composer, and in accordance with the contract, unless there a supplementary agreement was added, he had to let the company singers perform his songs.
“Fang Zhao, have you brought a song?” Duang asked.
“En, for the time being, I have completed only one song,” Fang Zhao said.
“After such a long time, other people would have completed two or three songs… Ai, let it be. First, finish this song. Based on your own arrangement?”
“…Ok, as you wish. Even if you wanted to use the company’s arrangers, you wouldn’t find any good ones at the moment,” Duang said in a low voice.
The good arrangers had already been assigned to support the big-name stars, not leaving any for the rookies. Rather than the insufficiently capable leftover composers, even if it were the directors, sorcerers of composition department, their work would still fall short of what Fang Zhao had in his mind. Thinking of the composition department sorcerers’ behaviour… Tch, eyes got spicy. Got spicy the first time, the second, and every single time! [TLNote: “辣” means “spicy,” and “眼睛” refers to “eyes.” Literal meaning: “eyes getting irritated by something spicy.” This term is used metaphorically to mean that something is too irritating to watch. Netizens first used the phrase to comment on a video posted by an Internet celebrity. The person in question got his Weibo account suspended after being found posting pornography and had to make an apology in the video. The term, voted one of the top 10 online Chinese buzzwords, has been used to describe unsightly people or things. The term is also used jokingly to describe provocative scenes. Refer: http://www.szdaily.com/content/2016-12/27/content_14673023.htm%5D
As a role model, Duang was instructing without any rest. He hurriedly drank a cup of water and went to the recording floor along with Bei Zhong, who was a rookie singer on probation, just like Fang Zhao. He was not waiting for any others, only hoping to hurry up and push this last one out, so that this task of his could be considered complete. As for what merits he could achieve, whether or not he could grasp the opportunities, that would all depend on the abilities of the intern himself. He, as a manager, could only prepare the stage and set things into motion.
Fang Zhao was looking at the series of applications that Duang had set up. It gave him a novel feeling. Also, he now truly realised the meaning of the saying ‘he who has his back to the tree will enjoy the coolness of the shade.’
This was an era of rapid development for the entertainment industry. So much so that many people wanted to squeeze into the big companies. Oftentimes, one simply needed to stand out from the masses, not necessarily to have talent. There were many such composers. Each day more than a thousand songs were uploaded, closely monitored by the masses. The vigorous publicity provided by the big companies was, naturally, dedicated to the already popular seniors.
As for the no-connection no-background invisible people, their chances lay with the Rookie Season. It was a rare opportunity. If they missed this, they would find it very difficult to get the company to spend much effort in supporting them. So much so that till the end of their lives, they would not chance upon a similar opportunity.
This was why the original host valued this time’s Rising Talent Competition. When his achievements had been stolen, he was rendered incapable of competing and he committed suicide out of despair. He felt that along with those three songs, his dreams had also been stolen from him.
After three days’ time, the song was finished. There would be an internal screening to check whether the song one intended to submit had any significant similarity to any other song. If it crossed a certain limit, then it would be put on an ‘Awaiting Decision’ list. It could be a coincidence there was too much of a similarity, or it could also be plagiarism or other reasons. The company would not allow it to be published online.
The entertainment industry was developing rapidly. Many rules also differed from those in Fang Zhao’s pre-apocalyptic era, but the overall system was also more organised. Although it was impossible to have absolute fairness, when comparing the rules and regulations, this era also gave people more opportunities.
“The entry will be at eight o’clock tomorrow morning!”
From the moment that Duang finalised the date and time of release, Fang Zhao could be said to have officially won a ticket to the Leading Rookie Rankings of the Music Circle’s Rising Talent Season. Although this Rising Talent Season was already nearing its end, fortunately, he had been able to catch up.
Today was the 10th of June, the last month of the Rising Talent Season, still leaving twenty more days until the end. Although the rankings could still change, the magnitude of the changes would not be significant. The companies would focus on the battle for the top ten. The first two names no longer allowed for any suspense. The two virtual idols were definitely going to hold the first two spots. As for the third, that was something to watch out for.
As far as Silver Wing Media’s artists and staff were concerned, if in the end, they were able to force a good result in the rookie season, the company’s bosses would be happy. Then they, the tiny little shrimps, would also be able to relax and perhaps gain some wage raises.
“So far, our company has three in this season’s Leading Rookie Rankings’ top ten,!”
“Aiyo, not bad! Earlier there used to be only one or two, this year’s rookies are putting in extra effort!”
It was very rare for three of the top ten to belong to their own company’s artists. With this achievement, the Silver Wing staff were already satisfied. Silver Wing was indeed one of the three main entertainment companies, but the past few years its power had been waning. At the same time, the usual achievements in the Rising Talent Season were rarely a cause for celebration, but this year could be considered as passable.
Some of the companies that couldn’t compare to the scale of Silver Wing were also discussing along the same lines.
“In this season’s Rising Talent Competition, the top ten have unexpectedly been monopolised by the Three Entertainment Giants.”
The Three Entertainment Giants that they were talking about referred to Yan Continent’s three largest entertainment companies, namely Silver Wing Media, Neon Culture, and Tongshan True Entertainment.
“The momentum of Silver Wing this year has been very fierce, ah. They managed to rush in three. I heard that something big will happen.”
“I also heard that Silver Wing signed ten rookie composers this year, so generous!”
“Huo! Ten rookies in one go? The investment isn’t small, ah!”
“Ten? How come I only see nine?”
“Indeed, there’s only nine in the top 50. Is it possible that someone left to be desired in quality?”
“No no, I’ve looked through the top 200, there isn’t one!”
“The tenth has certainly not entered. Even though Silver Wing has been weak for so many years, it still has means to push their interns into the top 100. It can’t afford to lose face as one of the Three Entertainment Giants.”
“Boss, the top ten of the ranking list are getting farther and farther away. Should we even bother competing?” an entertainment company’s employee asked his boss. Their company had also launched rookies this year, but only one of them had been able to break into the top twenty.
Seeing the top ten pulling farther and farther away, coming and going in a sweep, the company’s boss stared at the last position of the top ten. Pointing to the season ranking list’s tenth position, he told his subordinates, “It will be him. Let us put all our efforts into it once again and pull him down!”
The rankings’ 10th Position, 《Rising》, Singer Kong Xie, Composer Fang Sheng, Producer Neon Culture, 1502461 Downloads.
There was no other way. Who told the ones in the top to breach the 2 million download mark? The tenth position only had 1.5 million downloads. Although the 11th had only 1.3 million, a significant gap, could that gap withstand everyone’s raging ambitions as they stared at the fat meat?
Although the difference in position between the 10th and the 11th place was only one, the difference in status was massive. The season still had twenty days left, and even with a resurgent push, they might not be able to push their own company’s people upward in the rankings.
The others also had the same idea as the small-time boss. Seeing that the list changes were already getting fewer and that the top ten were gradually pulling away from the others, leaving them behind, some people even simply stopped struggling, while others in control of a company’s strength were thinking of using the chance to grasp the tenth position.
Just like a group of cats covetously eyeing the fat rat, ready to pounce on it anytime.