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YouTube to livestream Tomorrowland’s 20th edition

YouTube is to livestream the 20th anniversary edition of Belgium’s Tomorrowland to a global audience.

The electronic music spectacular will take place across two weekends in Boom, Antwerp, from 19-21 and 26-28 July. Tickets to the 70,000-cap festival sold out in less than a day back in February.

The livestream for its first weekend will feature performances by the likes of Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Afrojack, Amelie Lens, Timmy Trumpet, James Hype, Swedish House Mafia, Oliver Heldens and John Newman, while sets by Solomun, Steve Aoki, Tale Of Us, Tiesto and David Guetta, among others, will be broadcast during weekend two.

As well as Tomorrowland, YouTube also previously struck a similar partnership with Coachella.

“We’re continuing our tradition of bringing the biggest music festivals to a global audience with this livestream of Tomorrowland’s 20th anniversary,” says Sam Vergauwen, head of YouTube for the Benelux region.

People will be able to experience four concurrent livestreams, starting with the Main Stage livestream which will run 24/7 between 19-28, with live performances during the festival and highlights of sets between the two weekends.

Fuji Rock Festival in Japan will also be livestreamed via a link-up with Amazon

In addition, there will be a Main Stage livestream on YouTube Shorts, while a livestream of the Freedom Stage will run 24/7 for the duration of both weekends. In addition, One World Radio studio will feature video interviews with artists at the festival and live audio sets.

To celebrate the DJ community, YouTube will run a Yoodle (an alternate logo on the YouTube main page) in the UK, France, Germany, Brazil, Canada, Latin America, Japan, and Australia, which will also link to the Tomorrowland livestreams.

“The livestream will also be part of a YouTube Yoodle celebrating the DJ livestreaming community, bringing the festival’s magic to even more people than ever before to allow fans who cannot attend the festival in person to experience its electrifying performances,” adds Vergauwen. “We’re thrilled to see this partnership grow and evolve over the years.”

Upon the conclusion of the festival, Tomorrowland will upload each artist’s set on its YouTube channel as a permanent video on 29 July.

Elsewhere, this month’s Fuji Rock Festival in Japan will also be livestreamed via a link-up with Amazon. Performances from the Green Stage, White Stage, Red Marquee and Field of Heaven, as well as video interviews with the artists and footage from around the festival, will be available worldwide on Prime Video and Twitch free of charge.

The 26-28 July festival at Naeba Ski Resort will feature acts including The Killers, Kraftwerk, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Peggy Gou, Girl in Red, Turnstile and Raye.

 


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Creativeman on Summer Sonic’s triumphant sell-out

Creativeman’s Naoki Shimizu and Layli Odamura have spoken to IQ about how they’ve triumphed over a myriad of challenges in the Japanese industry to sell out Summer Sonic 2024.

The flagship festival will return to its longstanding locations, Tokyo’s Zozomarine Stadium and and Osaka’s Maishima Sonic Park, between 17 and 18 August.

Bring Me The Horizon, Måneskin, Christina Aguilera, Greta Van Fleet, Major Lazer, Lil Yachty, Belle & Sebastien, Bleachers, Madison Beer, Oliva Dean, PinkPantheress and more are due to perform at the twin events.

Here, the Creativeman executives tell IQ how this year’s festival has prospered over the headliner drought, the weak yen, rising costs and extreme weather…

How are the Summer Sonic dates in Tokyo and Osaka selling?
Naoki Shimizu (NS): We’ve sold out Tokyo and Osaka, which comes to 220,000 tickets. If Sonicmania on Friday sells out at 30,000, that would come to 250,000 total.

Summer Sonic 2024 is headlined by Maneskin and Bring Me The Horizon, two bands that haven’t yet headlined many festivals. What’s your thinking behind that decision?
NS: In the past, these two bands have played in Japan at Summer Sonic, headline tours etc which were all very successful due to their strength locally. This year many festivals across the world struggled to book headliners but for I believe in developing and growing artists into headliners and these two artists are prime example of this.

Layli Odamura (LO): After the pandemic had gradually calmed down, we have been lucky to have many incredible artists committed to play in Japan at the return of Summer Sonic in 2022. The fans were so ready and hungry for it and this included a new generation of them.

Maneskin’s first-ever show in Japan was at that Summer Sonic in 2022 and it was an instant, magnetic love, perfect match for Japanese audience to feel connected. Bring Me The Horizon (BMTH) had cleverly built their career and fan base in Japan gradually to the level where they even held their own festival called NEX_FEST in Tokyo, which sold out at approximately 20,000 people. This is a big achievement for this genre of artist as it has never been done before here and all due to BMTH’s exquisite artistry.

“Many festivals across the world struggled to book headliners but for I believe in developing and growing artists”

How have fans responded to these choices?
NS: Very well. The majority of our audience were seeking for a fresh act to be chosen, and a rock band in particular. One of the factors would be due to Summer Sonic audience becoming younger post pandemic.

What kind of impact is the weak yen having on booking, especially when it comes to big international artists?
NS: This is a big damage. The countermeasure we have put in place to survive the weak yen is to decrease the number of offers to those artists requiring fees in USD$ or GBP£, while increasing domestic and Asian artists to play instead. And this has proved that the festival can sell out even without the appearance of expensive acts.

LO: With the current exchange rate, as you can imagine we are paying approx. x1.6 or even more than a few years ago. This is a big problem because even when we are technically paying more in yen, from artist’s point of view in USD, the fee is still low.
Also touring costs overall such as airfare, freight, production costs etc has increased globally in the recent years so this is a double knockout situation for us.

Does this mean future lineups won’t be so Anglo-centric?
NS: I will stick to international music at the forefront. In Japan there are countless number of festivals with just domestic artists and K-pop. If that differentiation from these festivals disappears, the uniqueness and individuality will be lost. This year at Summer Sonic there are approximately 40 international artists and this ratio feels right.

“To survive the weak yen, [we have to] decrease the number of offers to those artists requiring fees in USD$ or GBP£”

There’s a trend of Asian festivals linking up and making offers together, are you doing this with your stable of festivals?
NS: Summer Sonic Bangkok starting this year is an example of this. I do hope to broaden to wider Asian territories and make offers together in the future.

LO: Summer Sonic brand has a strong presence in Asia so that always helps for us to connect with other Asian festival promoters too.

Are there upsides to the weak yen? Does it mean more tourists are visiting your festivals?
NS: Disadvantage is much bigger. However yes, inbound tourists attendance have increased and likely to reach to about 10%. If we broaden the sales network wider in the future then we could even reach to about 25% .

LO: Recent inbound tourism has strongly impacted Japan’s economy. Recently I have read a report that inbound travellers spent Y1.8 trillion in the first three months of 2024 in Japan, which is the highest figure on record. At our festivals and shows too we definitely see a lot more attendees from abroad, and are also noticing that shows such as overseas comedy acts etc are now not only promoted but sell well. This is a fairly new phenomenon because these shows are all in English, but it seems to be working as demand is there by increase of inbound tourists, ex-pats and those locals who returned from living abroad.

How much are prices rising in Japan, for things like infrastructure, artist fees, staffing etc?
NS: They have increased by about 120-150%. Aside from increasing the ticket price, it would become necessary to consider various strategies to cut down the costs such as decreasing the number of acts, number of stages etc.

“Prices in Japan have increased by about 120-150%”

Extreme heat is becoming a major challenge for summer festivals in Japan. How are you planning to mitigate that for your attendees?
NS: The Japanese summer is becoming increasing hot so for those areas such as merchandise, lockers etc where a long line is expected, we have now expanded indoor facilities to a even bigger capacity. Water supply area and first aid/medical areas have been expanded too.

Are you able to attract new and young audiences to your festivals?
NS: The well balanced line-up between the Western acts, domestic acts and Asian acts have attracted new and younger audiences. Research showed that in 2022 after the pandemic, 75% of the audience that year were attending Summer Sonic for the first time ever.

Creativeman organises a number of genre-specific festivals, how do they sell compare to your more eclectic events?
NS: When a festival is genre-specific, overall capacity does decrease compared to Summer Sonic but they still do have strong attendance. In addition to Summer Sonic and Sonicmania, Creativeman also holds multiple international music festivals such as GMO Sonic, Punkspring, Loudpark, Green Room, Blue Note Jazz, Coke Studio, Rockin’ On Sonic etc, and we are very proud to be the promoter most passionate about spreading International and Western music culture which we put so much effort in building, maintaining and strengthening locally.

LO: Creativeman is a pioneer in presenting genre-specific festivals. Our first one was nearly 20 years ago now. We do move fluidly based on demand so although some are long-running, each time gives out a freshness about it with dynamic tweaks and changes to it. Japanese fans are committed to their artists so in that sense a genre-specific festival does work well and is a great platform for many bands to gain new fanbase.

 


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Summer Sonic details Bangkok debut

Summer Sonic has announced the lineup for its inaugural Bangkok edition, announced earlier this year.

The Creativeman-promoted festival will be headlined by US acts One Republic and Lauv, with support from other international acts including Laufey, Aurora, Suede and Nothing But Thieves.

Yoasobi, Bodyslam, Zico, Bright, Boynextdoor, Lovejoy, Travis Japan, Phum Viphurit, Psychic Fever, Getsunova, Henry Moodie, Violette Wautier, Tomikita and Sarukani are also slated to perform at the debut.

Summer Sonic Bangkok will take place in Thailand’s capital between 24 and 25 August at the Impact Arena (cap. 12,000) in Muang Thong Thani.

The last edition of Summer Sonic that took place outside of Japan was Summer Sonic Shanghai in 2017

Ticket prices range from 3,500 (€89) to 11,000 (€278) for a one-day pass, and 6,500 (€164) to 20,000 (€506) for two-day entry.

The last edition of Summer Sonic that took place outside of Japan was Summer Sonic Shanghai in 2017. It featured a line-up headlined by Luna Sea, followed by The Kooks, Placebo, Nothing But Thieves, Sum 41, Travis, The Fratellis, and more.

The flagship event will return to its longstanding locations in Tokyo and Osaka between 17 and 18 August 2024 – both of which are sold out.

Bring Me The Horizon, Christina Aguilera, Måneskin, Greta Van Fleet, Major Lazer, Lil Yachty, Belle & Sebastien, Bleachers, Madison Beer, Oliva Dean, PinkPantheress and more are due to perform at the twin events.

 


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Montreux Jazz boss targets ‘iconic destinations’

Montreux Jazz Festival (MJF) chief Mathieu Jaton has revealed he is eyeing up “iconic destinations” for the brand’s continued international expansion.

The iconic Swiss festival returns to the Lake Geneva shoreline from 5-20 July this year. However, Jaton and the team are also exploring further overseas spin-offs following the festival’s successful debut in the US in Miami, Florida, earlier this year.

MJF has previously held international editions in Tokyo, Japan, Suzhou, China and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. And Jaton, who has directed the event since 2013, tells IQ that there is much more to come on that front.

“The future of the festival is very interesting because next year we’re going to have at least six international festivals in iconic locations,” says Jaton. “Tokyo is coming back in ’24, as is China and Brazil, which will maybe move from Rio to Salvador, Bahia. We will also continue in Miami.

“We will open in Abu Dhabi at the Louvre. We’re going to have the stage on the sea facing the museum, which is going to be great. And the last baby is a Montreux Jazz Festival in Ibiza. We’re still processing, thinking and talking about it. It’s not definitely signed yet, but we have the date, we have the partners, we have everything.

“The goal is to bring jazz into the mecca of electronic music. I love the idea: the electronic music needs recognition from the jazz scene, and the jazz scene needs electronic music to be open to the word. So having Montreux in the middle is a very nice sign. I love that.”

“The goal is not to have 10 or 20 festivals around the planet. We’re looking for iconic destinations that make sense with our DNA”

The third Montreux Jazz Festival China is set for 25-27 October at Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre, while talks have also taken place regarding a potential MJF South Africa.

“We are having discussions [about an event] close to Cape Town,” adds Jaton. “But it’s not a strategic development in terms of us wanting a very big expansion and having 10 or 20 festivals around the planet – that’s not the goal. We’re looking for iconic destinations that make sense with our DNA.”

Montreux Jazz Festival Miami premiered over three days in March at waterfront venue The Hangar, with actor and rapper Will Smith joining event co-owner and ambassador Jon Batiste on stage for an impromptu rap performance on the second night.

“Miami was crazy. We were very happy with it,” says Jaton. “We decided to start small and beautiful in Coconut Grove with only 1,500 people. Jon Batiste headed the festival, and as an ambassador, he brought all of his friends. We got the appearance of Will Smith coming in and jamming with Jon, which was very much in the spirit of Montreux.”

Batiste headlined the first two days of the event, which also featured the likes of Daryl Hall, The Wailers, Cimafunk, Emily Estefan, Cory Henry, Mathis Picard, Daniela Mercury and Adrian Cota & The Winston House Band, topped off with the Legendary Montreux Jam Session, curated by Elmo Lovano.

“The American audience was quite surprised to see a little bit of a different way of doing things,” adds Jaton. “It was a really interesting first edition and we will continue in that vein.”

 


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K-pop festival Waterbomb splashes into new markets

Touring K-pop festival series Waterbomb Festival is expanding to several global markets this year, with new editions set for the US, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan, the UAE, Singapore, and China.

Set to kick off this May in Xiamen, China, the international series will take water-soaked stars to Hong Kong in June before touring South Korea and Japan in July and more cities across both, plus Singapore, in August. A Bangkok edition has been set for September, with stints in Los Angeles, Ho Chi Minh City, Taipei, and Dubai to be announced.

First held in 2015 in Seoul, South Korea, the festival series first expanded to new markets in 2023 with two editions in Japan and one in Bangkok. This year, the series will visit nine cities in South Korea, four in Japan, and one in Thailand, along with the new editions.

The event was launched by Hong Kong-based streaming platform Viu and Singapore-based Evergreen Group Holdings, with local promoters helping bring it to new territories.

The K-pop genre continues to soar to new hights and into new markets

As the name suggests, Waterbomb intertwines various water activities alongside local and international lineups of K-pop, hip-hop, and EDM performers. Though lineups vary by city, performers include K-pop supergroup TWICE’s Nayeon, American rapper Jay Park, and SHINEE’s Taemin, and South Korean singers Hwasa, Chung Ha, and Bibi, among a variety of others. Former performers include Blackpink, aespa, Simon Dominic, and Jessi.

The K-pop genre continues to soar to new heights and into new markets, with behemoth HYBE reporting its concert revenue skyrocketed by 40% in 2023, reaching KRW 359.1 billion (€253m) in the year. Last autumn, fellow agency SM Entertainment announced its Q3 revenue surged 40% year-on-year, partly attributed to their star’s expansive world tours.

KCON, the world’s biggest K-pop and culture convention, also expanded to a fifth region this year, adding Hong Kong to its 2024 lineup of Japan, Los Angeles, Saudia Arabia, and to-be-announced Europe.

The 2024 schedule is as follows:

May
18-18: Xiamen, China

June
1-2: Hong Kong

July
5-7: Seoul, South Korea
13: Jeju, South Korea
13: Fukuoka, Japan
20: Daegu, South Korea
27: Busan, South Korea
27-28: Tokyo, Japan

August
3: Incheon, South Korea
10: Daejeon, South Korea
10: Osaka, Japan
17: Sokcho, South Korea
17: Nagoya, Japan
24: Suwon, South Korea
24-25: Singapore, Singapore
31: Gwangju, South Korea

September
TBA: Bangkok

TBA
Los Angeles, United States
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Taipei, Taiwan
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

 


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Japan’s live industry welcomes several new venues

Japan’s live music industry will benefit from several new venues opening over the coming years, due to a major change in men’s basketball leagues.

New rules for B League top category (B1) teams mean they must attract an average audience of 4,000 per game and build a home venue of at least 5,000-capacity.

This means nine likely new venues will be built in time for 2027. With basketball games taking up only 30 days per year, the remaining availability is a huge opportunity for the live industry, which has long complained about a lack of concert venues.

“The promotion of establishing arenas by B League clubs is a great move,” says Takeo Nakanishi, chairman of Japan’s promoters’ association, ACPC.

“This is a big plus, especially for the live entertainment industry, as it becomes the hometown of each club. Up until now, there were aspects of stadium/arena plans in rural areas that could only be advanced through interaction with the government. The government is now moving in a positive direction, and the private sector has also joined the movement.

“I’m really looking forward to Nagasaki Stadium City, which is scheduled to open in autumn 2024, especially considering its scale. The idea is not to revitalise a city but rather to create a city in Nagasaki.”

“The most important thing is for the newly built stadium/arena to continue to be a profitable venue”

Due to open on 14 October 2024, Nagasaki Stadium City (located in the eponymous prefecture) will comprise a 20,000-seat stadium and a 6,000-capacity arena. This year will also see the opening of the 20,333-capacity K-Arena in Yokohama – which already has concerts from Sam Smith, Saucy Dog and Awich lined up – and the 5,000-capacity Yokohama Buntai.

2025 will see at least five new venues open including The Tokyo A-Arena (cap. 10,000), the Kobe Arena (10,000), Kagawa Prefectural Arena (10,000), LaLa Arena in Tokyo Bay (10,000) and Aichi International Arena in Nagoya (17,000) – replacing the current Aichi Arena inside Nagoya Castle.

Osaka Arena is set to be the largest arena in western Japan when it opens in autumn 2027 as part of a mixed-use development. It is expected to have a capacity of 18,000 and projects 1.8m visitors a year.

In May last year, the Saga Arena opened in the prefecture of the same name in Kyushu’s northwest. The multipurpose 8,400-capacity arena can host a variety of events, from large-scale events such as sports, concerts, and entertainment, to business events such as conferences and exhibitions.

“SAGA Arena has proved very popular,” says Nakanishi. “In any case, the most important thing is for the newly built stadium/arena to continue to be a profitable venue, so we will continue to communicate [with the B League] in order to maintain a win-win relationship. Furthermore, there may be something that will bring great benefits not only to our concerts but also to events and exhibitions, so I would like them to explore various possibilities. It’s like adding more options than just basketball and music.”

 


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AEG Global Partnerships seals APAC venue link-ups

AEG Global Partnerships has secured new link-ups with IG Group, Bacardi and Volvo at its live events venues in Japan and Thailand.

IG Group has taken the naming rights for the new 17,000-seat arena currently under construction in Nagoya Japan, which will now be known as the IG Arena.

The 10-year deal between IG Group, the Aichi International Arena Company and AEG Global Partnerships is one of the largest-ever naming rights agreements in the APAC region. It comes just six months after AEG joined forces with The EM District and UOB to seal a similar deal for new Thailand live entertainment venue UOB Live, which opens this weekend.

Bacardi and Volvo have also signed deals to become the first founding partners at UOB Live, with both to have a large-scale brand presence and partnerships across the venue, with Bacardi becoming the exclusive beverage partner and Volvo becoming the exclusive automotive partner.

“We are proud to align UOB LIVE with two of the world’s most iconic, global brands – Bacardi and Volvo, each of which is best-in-class in their respective industries,” adds says Grossarth, general manager of UOB LIVE. “Their commitment to excellence matches ours and will help us amplify the world-class experiences that our guests can expect when they visit our venue.”

“Together, we will be able to enhance fans’ world-class experiences at our state-of-the-art venues, while offering opportunities for brands”

UOB LIVE launches on Sunday (11 February) with a specially tailored one-night-only concert produced and performed by Ed Sheeran. The venue, which promises to “reshape the live entertainment landscape” in the region, will be located at The Emsphere shopping mall in Bangkok and will be managed by ASM Global.

“IG Group, Bacardi and Volvo are all world leaders in their respective industries, and their commitment to excellence matches our own,” says Matthew Zweck, AEG Global Partnerships VP – Asia-Pacific. “Together, we will be able to enhance fans’ world-class experiences at our state-of-the-art venues, while offering opportunities for brands to excite, engage and reward both existing and prospective customers.”

Over the past 12 months, AEG Global Partnerships has signed new agreements across Japan, China, Thailand and Singapore worth $100 million – and growth is expected to continue throughout 2024 and into 2025. Further new AEG venues are already under construction in Osaka, Japan, and Seoul, South Korea, with AEG Global Partnerships poised to extend further naming rights and sponsorship agreements.

“The live entertainment industry in the APAC region is going from strength to strength and, as part of AEG, we can offer unrivalled naming rights and venue partnership opportunities at some of the best venues in the world,” says AEG Global Partnerships EVP Paul Samuels. “We are constantly reimagining partnerships, creating bespoke, integrated strategies designed to meet brands’ objectives, while enhancing fans’ experiences at some of the world’s leading venues.”

 


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Japan earthquake prompts concert cancellations

A number of music events were cancelled in Japan as a precaution in the wake of the devastating New Year’s Day earthquake.

The BBC reports the death toll has risen to over 160 a week on, with more than 100 people still missing following the 7.6 magnitude earthquake in the remote Noto peninsula, which destroyed hundreds of homes, triggered a large fire and sparked landslide fears. A small tsunami also added to the damage.

According to the Japan Times, the Meteorological Agency has today warned that powerful quakes could continue to hit the area over the next month.

Speaking to IQ, Nobuhiro Nagai, executive director of the All Japan Concert & Live Entertainment Promoters Conference (ACPC) says: “The full extent of the damage has not yet been revealed, but the damage is becoming clearer every day, and it pains me.”

Founded in 1988, ACPC has 76 members and 116 associate members, comprising regional promoters that hold more than 32,000 live concerts and festivals a year all over Japan.

“So far, there appears to be no life-threatening damage to the managers, employees, stage staff, artists, etc. of our association member companies,” says Nagai.

“All of these events were cancelled or postponed due to concerns about aftershocks from the earthquake and to ensure the safety of the halls”

While no major concerts have been impacted, several music and theatre events scheduled for the Hokuriku region in the first two weeks of the year have been called off. Affected artists include rock group Dragon Ash at the 500-cap Kanazawa Eight Hall, dance vocal group Travis Japan at the Toki Messe Niigata Convention Center Convention Hall (cap. 8,000) and a production of The Phantom of the Opera at Kanazawa Opera House.

“All of these events were cancelled or postponed due to concerns about aftershocks from the earthquake and to ensure the safety of the halls,” adds Nagai. “In Kanazawa City, the core city of Ishikawa Prefecture near the disaster area and surrounding cities, concerts and other events have been cancelled to take into account the effects of aftershocks and to conduct maintenance checks on venue facilities.”

Nagai says that performances postponed due to the closure of the Ishikawa Prefectural Concert Hall (cap. 1,500/700) include the Ishikawa Philharmonic Orchestra 127th Regular Concert, the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra New Year Special Concert, and two shows by Japanese group M!LK. Further events at small venues were also shelved.

However, a K-pop concert featuring artists including Aespa, BOYNEXTDOOR, ENHYPEN and &TEAM at the Vantelin Dome, Nagoya (250km from where the earthquake hit) reportedly proceeded as planned on 2 January.

“The area where the earthquake hit is a very small town, not the type of area where any concerts are happening – especially international acts,” Another industry insider tells IQ.

 


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K-pop group TWICE continue to make history

K-pop stars TWICE will continue to make history with their upcoming concerts at Japan’s biggest stadium.

The South Korean group are due to play two nights at the 75,000-capacity Nissan Stadium in Yokohama in July, becoming the first K-pop girl group and the first foreign act to perform at the venue.

TWICE will also be the second-ever K-pop act to grace the stage at the international stadium, following legendary K-pop boy band TVXQ over a decade ago in 2013.

The Japan concerts are a continuation of the group’s fifth world tour, Ready to Be, which last year smashed records across the globe.

The group’s fifth world tour, Ready to Be, which last year smashed records across the globe

In the US, Twice became the first K-pop girl group to sell out and headline SoFi Stadium (cap. 70,000) in Los Angeles and MetLife Stadium (82,500) in New York.

Elsewhere, their performance at Marvel Stadium (53,359) in Victoria on 4 November 2023 was Australia’s first K-pop stadium concert and marked the first time a female group headlined a stadium Down Under.

In Indonesia, the girls became the first K-pop group to headline a concert at the Jakarta International Stadium (82,000) on 23 December 2023.

And recently, TWICE became the first K-pop girl group to sell out a stadium in São Paulo, subsequently adding a second date for the February 2024 visit.

 


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Magnificent 7: Bruno Mars’ historic Tokyo stand

Bruno Mars is set to make history in Japan with seven sold-out shows at the 55,000-capacity Tokyo Dome in early 2024.

The American singer-songwriter and producer returns to the venue between 11-21 January, a little over a year after he sold out five shows at the venue, which amounted to more than 200,000 tickets.

“These shows will be the biggest by any international act in Japan this century,” says Kaori Hayashi of Tokyo-based Hayashi International Promotion (HIP), which is promoting the run alongside Live Nation.

Speaking in the Global Promoters Report 2023, Hayashi suggests that Mars’s achievements in the region recall the heyday of Michael Jackson.

“Bruno has regularly toured Japan and actively promotes his shows here,” adds Hayashi. “I think his incredible success will encourage other artists to invest more time in Japan.”

The star has emerged in recent years as an example to western stars seeking success in the country’s live music landscape, which is dominated by domestic acts.

“I think his incredible success will encourage other artists to invest more time in Japan”

Anecdotally, homegrown talent makes up 90% of Japanese concert ticket sales, though that figure may finally be on course to rise again – and may, according to some reports, have already done so.

“Japan is getting closer to the overseas market as distribution grows and YouTube and TikTok become mainstream,” Naoki Shimizu, president of Creativeman, told IQ in August. “Our goal is to return to the 25% share of western music that existed 20 years ago. Now it is said to be 10%, but I believe that the share has risen to about 15%.”

Creativeman is the operator of the prominent Summer Sonic Festival and one of the leading Japanese promoters, which also includes HIP, Kyodo Tokyo, Fuji Rock promoter Smash, UDO Artists and, given half a chance, a familiar group of eager western newcomers.

Live Nation Japan operates under former UDO Artists executive Kei Ikuta and has made no secret of its ambition to grow its share of a live market ranked second in the world after the US. Likewise, CTS Eventim has identified Japan as a key Asian priority, with Jason Miller at the helm of its Eventim Live Asia operation. AEG Presents is there, too, in partnership with local indie giant Avex Entertainment.

With its massive domestic J-pop industry, Japan does not have a burning need for either international talent or promoters – though Bruno Mars serves as an example that artists who work hard enough can do very well.

Read more about the world’s leading promoters and touring territories in the Global Promoters Report (GPR) 2023, out now.

 


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