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The world’s leading promoters & the 40 top markets they operate in.
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China, pop-wise, is fit to burst. In a region where pandemic restrictions have been extensive and are yet to relax enough to allow for international tours to visit, fans are desperate to once more come within screaming distance of the stars.
“Fans are hungry for international content, and there’s a huge pent-up demand,” says Edward Liu, MD of Live Nation China.
“Fans are hungry for international content, and there’s a huge pent-up demand,”
“International touring hasn’t resumed yet due to travel restrictions – the current practice requires seven to ten days of hotel quarantine for foreign arrivals. Arena tours haven’t come back on a large scale. And the significantly increasing cost of airfare and shipping makes it much more expensive for Western acts to come to Asia. But when the travel restriction is removed, China dates can absorb those regional travel costs and make the tour more cost-efficient.”
While they await the return of large-scale international events, the major promoters in China – Live Nation, AEG, Taihe Music Group, and AC Orange – have focused their attention on local artists. Live Nation staged more than 250 shows, including Re-TRIS at Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena, the first indie rock act to sell out an arena in China, and became more involved in the productions than ever before.
While they await the return of large-scale international events, the major promoters in China – Live Nation, AEG, Taihe Music Group, and AC Orange – have focused their attention on local artists.
“Acting beyond just promoting, we also helped to put together the show design as it was the band’s first arena show,” says Liu. “We’ve also achieved some very extensive tours across the country and went to as many as 30 cities.”
As a result of such intense local promotion, Liu says that The Livehouse, a chain of venues ranging from 100 to 3,000 capacities across China and accounting for 85% of live shows, saw shows and ticket sales triple in the past five years as young people turn to smaller local shows. “New venues are popping up everywhere, with much better house equipment and facilities,” he says.
“This has become a part of the lifestyle for the younger generation and will continue to grow. This
more established infrastructure helps the local emerging acts to quickly expand their fanbase, and international acts can also tour more markets in the future.”
With different social media and streaming services operating in China, Liu points to Live Nation’s successful Ones To Watch platform as a prime means for these emerging local acts,
With different social media and streaming services operating in China, Liu points to Live Nation’s successful Ones To Watch platform as a prime means for these emerging local acts – often mainstream pop artists or, more recently, EDM acts – to get noticed. “We create video pieces for new artists in three steps – who are they, their works, and their upcoming tour,” he explains.
“It provides great exposure and touring opportunities for emerging acts in the region.” Visiting acts should also be attuned to China’s online promotion network on sites such as Weibo, WeChat, Douyin, and Red, and make themselves available to the audience.
“Connect with fans more often,” he advises, “like engaging with fans on social, quickly saying hi on live-stream, and playing more shows. Content-wise, short videos of 15 seconds always work better than articles and pictures and influencer engagement always brings more traffic and new followers.” Time to prepare; when the beast of the east reawakens, there’ll be fireworks.