Crazy Little Brother Yang’s Electronic Music Festival draws controversy over pricey goods

After the May Day holiday, #Sanzhiyang’s participation in organising an electronic festival and accused of overcharging customers# (三只羊参与举办电音节被指宰客) hit Weibo’s (China’s Twitter-like platform) Hot Search List on 7 May, garnering 150 million views. Crazy Little Brother Yang, the first Douyin (China’s TikTok equivalent) streamer to reach 100 million subscribers, was one of the organisers of this Electronic Music Festival as well as the CEO of Sanzhiyang Group.

On social media, many residents in the neighbourhood complained about the noise from the festival, and netizens also complained about the high price of water sold on site. A bottle of purified water was selling for 20 RMB (2.82 USD), and a bottle of Red Bull, which was priced around 10 RMB (1.41 USD) outside the venue, cost as much as 28 RMB (3.95 USD) after entering.

On the same day, Crazy Little Brother Yang sent a video response saying that the Electronic Music Festival commodities have marked up the prices. Although some stalls were found to be overpriced, he intervened on the afternoon of 3 May to instruct merchants to lower their prices, ensuring they were the lowest at the festival. He also announced that water at future music festivals would be provided free of charge.

Crazy Little Brother Yang has raised doubts over media reports supposedly targeting him, yet recent livestreaming by Sanzhiyang has always been negative. During this year’s CCTV 3.15 Gala, which centres on China’s consumer rights and interests, a product that Sanzhiyang once introduced in the livestreaming room was officially criticised. Notably, Crazy Little Brother Yang failed to make Douyin Live’s TOP20 list of individuals with merchandise in March. In response to the controversies, Crazy Little Brother Yang expressed his intention to decrease his on-screen presence, repositioning his identity more towards entrepreneurship rather than grassroots activism, gradually transitioning from the forefront to behind the scenes.

On 7 May, local market supervision and management staff stated they had been attentive to related complaints but initially concluded that the pricing was in accordance with regulations. Netizens on Weibo also commented, “The most profitable industry in China is hotels, where a room’s price can skyrocket by dozens. If you encounter events like the music festival or May Day holidays, booking in advance can’t spare you from such surprises, as breaching contracts seems to be a norm.”


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