Bandcamp blocked in China

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  • It's now only accessible in the country with a VPN.
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  • Government regulators in China have restricted public access to Bandcamp. Multiple reports emerged this week that the streaming platform has vanished behind the country's online censorship system. Like numerous other foreign websites, Bandcamp is now only accessible in China through a VPN—a tool that enables users to bypass censors and anonymously browse the Internet. Confirming the news, record labels and artists in the world's second largest economy sent screenshots of the blocked site to Resident Advisor. Several music industry players and experts also shared similar screenshots on social media.
    Speaking to RA, DJ and promoter SilkBoi of Chengdu-based radio platform and party crew Pulse said, "Bandcamp being blocked has kind of shocked our community, and we still don’t know the specific reason for this action." Chinese artists are already used to finding workarounds to blocked sites, he continued, so this is just another reason "to make our scene better and more connected with the world outside of the firewall." Under China's state-controlled program for filtering Internet content, colloquially known as the Great Firewall, overseas websites such as Google, Facebook and Instagram have long been blocked. As the Shanghai-based producer Swimful noted, that's never deterred creatives. "Generally in China, if you make more than minimum wage and are interested in anything to do with art, music, technology, etc. you will have a VPN, and you probably never turn it off if you've set up the application filter," he told RA. "You can't even reliably install a driver for a soundcard without a VPN, because all foreign sites, even those that technically aren’t blocked, are painfully slow on a normal Chinese internet connection. "I'd go so far as to say that probably every Chinese label that has music on Bandcamp will have a VPN, and every artist on those labels will have a VPN and thus practically speaking, it won’t change anything," the SVBKVLT artist added. Bandcamp has yet to respond to RA's request for comment.