Dakou ("Saw Gash") CDs
October 31, 2007 8:27 AM   Subscribe

Dakou ("Saw Gash") CDs are shipped to China to be dumped in landfill sites. As you might expect, they don't always make it to the tip.

When the government controls what western goods and ideas can be imported, subversive or even interesting music often stops at the border. But tapes which have been cut to prevent playing can be spliced back together; CDs with nicks out of their edge will still play most of the tracks. So dakou becomes a potent source of otherwise forbidden music. The suits of the music industry most likely see this as straight piracy, but others claim it is something more subtle.

Dakou has been credited with kickstarting the Beijing punk scene, but many punks have moved on to make genre bending music that reflects the mishmash of influences dakou brought.

Peng "Millionaire" Lei talks about the influence of dakou. The early influence on his band, New Pants, of the Ramones is far from subtle, even in their curious brand of synth-pop.

Sha Zhou, a young Quingdao rapper, explains how he went from listening to dakou copies of the Back Street Boys to real rap.

This originally appeared on MetaChat. "New Pants" was a link, but I dropped it as it doesn't seem to be resolving ATM. I include it here in case it reverts to a working link.
posted by GeckoDundee (11 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Pants! I meant to say "I include it here in case it reverts to a working link"
posted by GeckoDundee at 8:31 AM on October 31, 2007

There's nothing worse than a sore gash.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:38 AM on October 31, 2007

Top post. Bought a few of these in my time.
posted by Abiezer at 8:54 AM on October 31, 2007

The Fact Magazine article on the Beijing punk scene seems a bit off, but then I was only ever around the fringes so what do I know - though I did knock around with the Lu Bo it mentions and his then wannabe band many, may years ago (that would be some top name-dropping if one on a thousand of you knew who the fuck he is).
posted by Abiezer at 9:11 AM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

Interesting post. Thanks.
posted by srboisvert at 9:44 AM on October 31, 2007

Brain Failure rocks. (MySpace link)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:51 AM on October 31, 2007

Your trash aint nuthin but cash...
posted by hortense at 10:01 AM on October 31, 2007

I volunteered at a community/public radio station for a number of years, and I was shocked at the mountains of CDs that were sent to the station - both by major labels and minors.

But the major labels were the worst. Oftentimes there would be multiples of the same CD sent to the various department managers, resulting in piles of identical "promotional use only" CDs.

Most of which were utter mainstream crap - which, according to our FCC charter - we weren't even allowed to play even if we did like them.

This is one of the beautiful things about that kind of college radio - to justify our FCC community radio license, we had to offer something to the community they couldn't get elsewhere.

So, once or twice a year we'd hold a yard sale of these non-saleable "promotional" CDs to (very, very slightly) bolster the coffers of the station. Generally speaking, we're talking about the marginally tolerable 1% of the crap sent to us.

The rest of it? Did you know that a CD will shatter into powder if you throw it at a steel firedoor hard enough? That if you put one in a microwave, or attack it with a Tesla coil, it makes the most beatiful, lightning-like etchings? Or that covering all the walls and ceilings of a room with CDs seems like a neat idea at first, but is really pretty tedious and mundane?

I still wish we'd made that friction-drive CD machine gun we were talking about. That would have been sweet.

And the RIAA is concerned about profits and losses? Eat a brick, you goddamn dinosaurs!
posted by loquacious at 10:47 AM on October 31, 2007 [2 favorites]

How's that for keeping prices artificially HIGH ? That's the abundant proof of a cartel behind the production and sale of cds, a cartel that doesn't allow market to sell these perfectly good copies for less money, thus increasing competition. The division of DVDs as playable only in certain "regions" is even worse.

But competition is only good if it brings or keeps the cost of work down, if it makes the little minions clash for the crumbs, struggle for a dime.

I say let's bring the taste of what competition feels like when you are a little company or a little worker crushed by billions and forces you can't possibly control, let see how the media industry work without copyrights.

loquacious writes "And the RIAA is concerned about profits and losses? Eat a brick, you goddamn dinosaurs!"

Oh but don't you think of the children of artists and all the people that work in the media industry ? When you buy a pirated CD, a kitten dies !
posted by elpapacito at 10:58 AM on October 31, 2007

I understand the concept of cut-outs, but they typically only have the case notched, not the disc. Is there a whole seperate category where they cut further, for foreign export?
posted by anazgnos at 12:44 PM on October 31, 2007

This is kind of old news, most kids in China get their music from the internet. I believe that the top Chinese search, baidu, engine gets most of its profits from its MP3 search
posted by afu at 9:17 AM on November 1, 2007

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