Why you’ll still be able to find the new Guns and Roses album in China

Yes, I will put a shamed expression on my face and admit that I felt a bit of excitement when I heard that Guns and Roses was releasing a new album. Come on, I was an awkward, pimple-ridden junior high-schooler when Axl and Slash were still at the top of their game. I thought that they were the shit.

Well, the new album, which was actually made by Axl Rose and a bunch of session musicians, is less than mediocre. But when I heard that Chinese authorities were critisizing it because of its content and about to ban it, I had to laugh. Not because the government was taking a bunch of has-beens so seriously, but because I know that if I walked into a Shenzhen bootleg CD shop right now, I’d have a pretty good chance of finding a copy of the album. The same goes for pirated versions of controversial books and DVDs. I don’t have the official numbers, but I’d wager that over 85% of the music and movies sold in China are bootlegged. So your hip Shanghai record store might not have G&R, but the bootleggers probably will.