Xiao Zhan earns Guinness record amid controversies

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, July 11, 2020
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Chinese singer and actor Xiao Zhan attends a press event in Shanghai, Dec. 19, 2019. [File photo/VCG]

Chinese actor and singer Xiao Zhan set the Guinness World Record for the fastest-selling digital track in China despite months-long controversies due to his fandom.

The Guinness World Records announced on its website: The fastest-selling digital track in China is the single "Spotlight" with a reported 25.48 million downloads in 24 hours and was achieved by Xiao Zhan on April 24-25, 2020.

The track, priced at 3 yuan ($0.43) per download, was downloaded 3 million times in the first hour. In the first 24 hours, the single generated sales in excess of 76.43 million yuan.

The song, performed in Chinese and English, has so far sold more than 36 million digital copies with gross revenue of more than 110 million yuan, according to statistics from Tencent's QQ Music and other pay–to-download music platforms. It is the most downloaded song in China ever.

Although his fans are happy about the world record, many others aren't. Many online users wrote terrible reviews for the song and didn't believe it could represent China's music quality. It received a score of 4.9/10 by more than 200,000 users on Douban.com, a website providing user reviews and recommendations for movies, TV series, books, and music.

"Spotlight" had no official promotion, but the song was released when Xiao Zhan was involved in a series of online controversies. Some of his die-hard fans bought multiple copies and even initiated campaigns among fans to mass purchase the song to save Xiao's image.

But industry observers believe it's a good thing for China's music industry to nurture Chinese music lovers to pay for music online. At the same time, it's common for die-hard fans of artists to buy multiple copies of their works to show support.

In February, the star and a portion of his fandom were embroiled in a cyberwar after a group of Xiao's fans attacked Archive of Our Own (AO3), one of the world’s biggest fanfiction sites, for hosting a fan fiction about Xiao and his co-star Wang Yibo from the hit TV drama "The Untamed." His fans claimed that such fiction tarnished Xiao's image.

However, Xiao and his fandom faced fierce counter-attacks and backlash from the public. Some criticized the fans for the destruction of artistic freedom, while others threatened to boycott brands associated with him, including Estée Lauder, Piaget and Cartier.

Xiao Zhan and his studio later issued statements separately to apologize. 

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