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‘There is still a demand for concerts in Ukraine’

The impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on touring in Eastern Europe and ethical dilemmas around potentially lucrative new markets were top of the agenda for ILMC’s Geo-politics: The Bigger Picture session.

The panel, hosted by LIVE’s Jon Collins, examined the place of touring and festivals in a tumultuous world.

Just over a year on from Russia’s invasion, Kyiv-raised Dartsya Tarkovska, co-founder of Music Export Ukraine, brought the room up to date on the office’s work, and stressed the importance of the international live music community continuing to support their efforts.

“We have the team of six people now,” she said. “And since Russia started the invasion in Ukraine, we had to split. Right now, we have two people working in Ukraine and four of them are abroad. I’m one of them. I’m currently working and living in the UK as a temporarily displaced person, aka, a refugee. That still allows us to be super-active and promote Ukrainian artists as much as we can, internationally. And our mission was definitely brought to a whole new level.”

Despite the stark circumstances, Tarkovska stressed that the Ukrainian live music industry was still a going concern.

“We used to think that Covid restrictions were super-tough to maintain. Trust me, it’s nothing compared to these challenges”

“It changed dramatically, and there are definitely a few things that impacted this change,” she said. “One of things would was a set of new restrictions and rules for concerts for civilians, because we have air raid alerts, we have shellings, we have curfew, electricity cuts… We used to think that Covid restrictions were super-tough to maintain. Trust me, it’s nothing compared to these challenges. But there are still promoters and bookers who are keeping up with these restrictions, because there is still a demand for concerts in Ukraine.”

She added: “Another trend would be concerts for Ukrainian soldiers at the frontline. That’s definitely a new, very non commercial niche, but a very important one. You can barely find an event without a charity component, and many Ukrainian artists donate at least part of their income for charity purposes.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies – a lot of industry stakeholders did pivot, because it’s very hard to maintain a full time business at the time of war. Some of them tried to diversify their activities, or stay open for new markets and explore new opportunities, whereas others literally do a 180 and focus on charity and other areas.

“For example, some of my colleagues – an independent booking agency called Kontrabass Promo – opened a charity organisations called Musicians Defend Ukraine, and are now collecting for charity. But solely for musicians who are now spending their time in the Ukrainian army, or at the territorial defence, so that they could get back from war and keep on creating more music.”

“Right now, one of the main challenges for us is to keep the conversation going, to keep the spotlight on Ukraine”

Promoter Máté Horváth of Live Nation CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) said the Hungarian market had enjoyed a “serious bounceback”, with strong post-Covid ticket sales, adding that the ramifications of the Ukraine war for the scene had been minimal up to this point.

“I think there was one confirmed tour which was, which was cancelled, but it hadn’t even been announced. It was literally just a week or two weeks after 24 February [2022],” he said. “I saw very few cancellations. I know there were difficulties for artists who lost tour dates in Ukraine, Russia or Belarus, to figure out how to make their tours work out… but it was not very rampant.”

Horváth added, however, that the completion of a new venue in the country was delayed and is still under construction because the building materials were to have arrived from Ukraine. “So there are effects on the market. But as far as cancellations go, it was not a major issue for us,” he said.

Tarkovska indicated that maintaining the attention of the international music community over a year into the war was a challenge.

“At first, we were overwhelmed as an export office with the amount of booking requests and cooperation ideas,” she said. “But as the time goes, we are definitely seeing the attention decreasing. Right now, one of the main challenges for us is to keep the conversation going, to keep the spotlight on Ukraine and keep the representation of our country in the international context.”

“We’re doing as much as we can. But we still need the interest from the international industry stakeholders to make this magic happen”

She pointed out, however, that keeping the spotlight on the issue was a “two-way street”.

“One of the things that our government is doing at this point is trying to develop some international policies and build the bridge to keep the spotlight and make sure Ukraine is represented at the key international events and cultural events,” she said. “Music would definitely be one of the areas of interest, and we’re doing as much as we can. But we still need the interest from the international industry stakeholders to make this magic happen. So if you’re wondering, ‘What can I personally do to support Ukraine?’ This is exactly what you can do.”

Weining Hung, co-founder of Taiwan’s LUCFest, mentioned that tensions between Taiwan and China had left some overseas acts reluctant to visit the former.

“We got rejected or asked questions by many artists from Western countries like Canada or the UK because they were quite concerned about their safety and asked us whether it was still a safe place to go.

“You definitely won’t have problems if you play in Taiwan. You can definitely still go to China, so it won’t have any impact.”

“Beyoncé did not perform in Dubai to celebrate the government, she performed to open a hotel”

The discussion later turned to how the industry should approach markets with questionable human rights records. Beyoncé’s recent private concert in Dubai marking the opening of the luxury Atlantis Royal Hotel, for which the singer was reportedly paid US$24 million, was put forward as an example.

Tarkovska said such decisions should be left up to the artist, but advised they first carry out “thorough homework” to understand the background of the country.

“They really have to evaluate if their values are aligned and if they’re not, why is it still beneficial for the artists to go and work in this particular market? It has to be thoroughly evaluated – what are the pros and cons of this kind of involvement? Because it is very tricky, and the consequences are inevitable. At the end of the day, it’s not necessarily all about the money.”

Middle East-based promoter Thomas Ovesen of TOP Entertainment said there was an important distinction for artists.

“Beyoncé did not perform in Dubai to celebrate the government, she performed to open a hotel,” he said. “Many of the shows in Dubai are commercial shows where the government has no involvement. Perhaps in Saudi is slightly different. So I think it’s a bit more nuanced than dismissing a market if you don’t agree with the rulership, because there is a massive upside in having acts performing. I mean, I’ve had Elton John in Dubai and he’s were very well aware of the rules there, but played to fans and did not play to support the government.”

However, Nick Hobbs of Istanbul-based Charmenko argued that outlook should not extend to all countries.

“Just to be polemical, I would say if there is a situation that the Russian regime continues after this war ends, then going to play in Russia normalises that situation. It says it’s okay, it’s normal.

“It wouldn’t be the Russian government directly inviting [the artist to play], although that is possible, it would be a promoter – but with the sanction of the government. And that, for me, is normalising something which is not normal.”

 


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The New Bosses 2022: Jonathan Hou, Live Nation

The 15th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 114 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2022’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous New Bosess 2022 interview with James Craigie, a promoter for Goldenvoice in the UK. The series continues with Jonathan Hou, senior director of talent and touring at Live Nation APAC in Taiwan.

A Taiwanese-American born and raised in Houston, Texas, Jonathan got his start in the music industry working as an intern at Live Nation while studying music business at The University of Texas at Austin.

After college, he moved to Taipei to work with B’in Music, touring internationally with the Taiwanese rock band Mayday. In 2014, he re-joined Live Nation and has since worked with the company in multiple markets, most recently in Shanghai, China.

Jonathan now works on booking talent for Live Nation’s APAC division, building tours for international artists across the region.

 


You’re a long way from Texas. What’s the thing you miss most about living in America?
Being in close proximity to family and friends. I think the biggest sacrifice that many of us expats have to make is the time that we spend away from home. Due to Covid, I was unable to see my family for almost three years.

Were you able to speak Mandarin before making your move to Taipei? And how have your language skills improved (do you speak any Hokkien)?
Growing up we would speak Mandarin at home, but I still had a huge learning curve when I first started working in Taiwan. Additionally, even after having worked in Taiwan, there was another learning curve when I started in Shanghai, as the terms and characters that Mainland China (Simplified Chinese) uses is different from Taiwan (Traditional Chinese).

There was definitely a lot of Google Translate used in the early days, but I’m proud to say that my language skills have now improved to a point where most people are unable to tell that I am a foreigner. I can understand some Hokkien, but unfortunately am not fluent… yet.

What about the cultural differences between promoting in the USA and across Asia – what’s the most important lesson you can impart to visiting ‘Western’ acts?
Asia can often be treated as one region, but each market is unique with its own cultures. It’s important to know what the cultural sensitivities are before performing in every market. For example, something that may be well received by fans in Bangkok, may not be so well received in Shanghai.

“Asia can often be treated as one region, but each market is unique with its own cultures”

How did you land your job at B’in Music – did you have to fly there for an interview, for example?
I was in Taipei interning for an indie record label at the time, and through some of the contacts I had made at my internship at Live Nation, I was able to set up a meeting with Julia Hsieh, the COO of B’in Music who also manages Mayday. We met at the backstage of a festival and talked briefly. Two weeks later, she called and offered me a job to tour with Mayday across Europe and North America, and the rest is history.

Asia seems like it will be the next region to really explode in terms of live music business growth. How would you lure fellow professionals to the region to help facilitate that growth?
Asia is the place to be if you’re looking for a challenge and an adventure. The next couple of years are going to be great growth years for the live music industry in Asia, and it’s exciting to be able to be a part of shaping the industry.

And what about the artists? How do you persuade acts and their representatives to invest the time to tour in Asia?
We have a lot of very passionate fans in Asia that cannot wait to see their favourite artists perform. Fans in Asia do not take shows for granted, as it is not guaranteed that an artist will bring their tour to Asia. Also, we have seen over the years that artists that do invest and tour Asia early in their careers have been able to build large, loyal fan bases here, and the pipeline for the next couple of years is huge.

“Artists that do invest and tour Asia early in their careers have been able to build large, loyal fan bases here”

In a non-Covid year, how extensive can the tours that you book be, in terms of cities, venues, and potential new fanbases?
Our most extensive tours in a non-Covid year would typically range around 12-13 shows across 8-9 countries, and this would be for artists of all sizes from club- to stadium-level acts. Moving forward, there is potential for tours to expand even more once all markets open their borders, especially in China, and additional opportunities as new markets open up for touring, such as Vietnam. For some artists it may be possible to do ten or more shows in China alone.

Do you have a mentor or someone you rely on to turn to for advice?
I have two mentors that have helped shape my career, Julia Hsieh (B’in Music) and Dennis Argenzia (Live Nation). Julia taught me a lot of the fundamentals when I first started out in the industry, including how to market an artist/show and how to build a tour. Dennis, who I’ve worked with now for seven years, has taught me everything I know about booking talent and promoting shows.

Is anyone else in your family involved in music – or do they all think you are crazy for your choice of career?
We’re a family of classically trained musicians, so music is in our blood. My family has always been supportive of my career in music, and I am very blessed for that.

“I want to continue to be a bridge between Asia and the West”

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
There are too many to choose from as I think every experience is unique, and I love what I do. However, the top three that stand out are promoting Mayday at Madison Square Garden (first ever Chinese band to perform at MSG), promoting Madonna’s first-ever show in Taipei, and booking keshi’s first Asia tour.

As a New Boss, what one thing would you change to make the live entertainment industry a better place?
I believe we’ve already made strides with the emergence of 88rising and artists such as keshi over the past couple of years, but I would like to continue to see more AAPI representation throughout the industry, globally.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I want to continue to be a bridge between Asia and the West. I’d like to work on building bigger tours for international artists across Asia, which would entail developing more markets across the region. I would also like to be working on exporting Asian artist tours (not just K-pop) to other parts of the world.

 


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Taiwanese star sells 130,000 tickets in nine minutes

Taiwanese star A-Mei has shifted 130,000 tickets in under ten minutes for her multi-date concert series at Taipei Arena.

The Mandopop star will perform 12 nights at the capital’s arena between 1–16 April, as part of her upcoming ASMR world tour.

Tickets for the Taiwain dates were available via ticketing marketplace tixCraft and A-Mei’s record label, EMI Records, said that around 320,000 fans were on the site after the tickets were released.

There have been reports that some fans are upset by a ticketing policy that requires attendees at the concert to provide their name and ID number before they will be admitted to the Taipei Arena.

EMI Records, said that around 320,000 fans were on the ticketing site after the tickets were released

This led to roughly 800 refund requests from fans that had submitted the incorrect information.

According to reports, the organiser then reversed its decision, allowing those that had input the wrong information to enter the concert. Some say the move could enable ticket scalpers.

The concerts will mark A-Mei’s return to the venue for the first time since 2015 when residents in the area complained of noise pollution during concerts for the Utopia World Tour.

As a result, the management of Taipei Arena introduced a regulation that imposes a fine of NT$100,000 (US$3,617) per song and possible cancellation of the performance if a concert’s decibel level rises above 63. The regulation became popularly known as the “A-Mei Clause.”

 


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Non-quarantining concertgoers fined in Covid-free Taiwan

Seven people who attended attended a stadium concert on new year’s eve instead of self-isolating have been fined by Taiwanese authorities for endangering public health.

The concertgoers – who had been ordered to observe ‘self-health management’ (ie self-isolate/quarantine) after coming into contact with someone infected with Covid-19 – went to see veteran Mandopop band Mayday perform at Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium near Taipei on 31 December.

Over 22,000 people attended the show, according to Taiwan News, part-way through which “news broke out that several individuals who were supposed to be following self-health management protocols were in the crowd”.

The seven were caught out by Taiwan’s mobile phone-based contact tracing system, dubbed “Skynet”

Taiwan’s Central News Agency reports that the potentially infected septet were caught out by the country’s mobile phone-based contact tracing system, dubbed “Skynet”, which clocked them just half an hour after they left their houses.

Three of the Mayday fans, who were supposed to be quarantining for another three days, were each fined NT$70,000 (US$2,460), while the other four, who each had one day to go, received fines of NT$30,000 (US$1,070).

Taiwan, which is home to nearly 24m people, on 22 December recorded its first domestic case of Covid-19 in over 250 days. The island country was the first to return to hosting full-capacity major events, with arena shows restarting in August.

 


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How Taiwan became a global outlier for live, post pandemic

Taiwan has become the envy of the global live music industry after enjoying many months of full-capacity festivals, concerts and events.

The east Asian country, which has a population of more than 23 million, has recorded a mere 603 cases and only seven deaths during the pandemic, despite being close to mainland China where the virus began.

The country recently celebrated a record 200 consecutive days without any domestically transmitted cases of Covid-19, making it even more successful than New Zealand (which has a far smaller population) and Vietnam – both of which have been lauded for their efforts since March.

Taiwan’s success with controlling the virus has been tied to a number of factors, including: an early response which brought in strict control measures such as two weeks of quarantine for anyone flying into the island; a generous amount of resources being poured into testing and tracing and checks on travellers arriving from Wuhan as early as December last year.

On top of that, the island’s previous exposure to the Sars epidemic meant that preparations were extensive and up to date.

As a result, the nation has managed to maintain a positive rate of economic growth, and unemployment rate dropped to 3.83% in September, the lowest seen in six months.

Thanks to these precautions and achievements, the country saw a return to live as early as June when the Taiwanese government lifted all limits on the number of people allowed to attend public gatherings, including cultural events, and removed the need for social distancing at concert halls and stadiums.

Taiwain has recorded a mere 603 cases and only seven deaths during the pandemic

Following that, Taiwanese artist Eric Chou delivered Asia’s first post-Covid arena shows to a sold-out, full-capacity Taipei Arena (cap. 15,350) on 8 and 9 August.

Fans were still required to wear masks, undergo temperature checks upon entry, and provide identification that would facilitate contact tracing should the need arise. Pink medical masks and square alcohol wipes were provided.

Since then, however, measures are not being as strictly enforced. Last Saturday (14 November), some 10,000 – mostly maskless – patrons crammed together at Dajie Riverside Park in Taipei for Ultra festival, a worldwide electronic music festival franchise.

A carefree audience enjoyed performances from domestic and international artists (who would have quarantined for 14 days upon entering the country) including Kayzo, Vini Vici, Slander and Alesso.

Artists have been among those praising the nation for its efforts in tackling coronavirus. Last Tuesday (10 November), world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma gave thanks to the audience and praised the people of Taiwan for their “truly amazing” feat during his concert.

His performance at Taipei Music Center to more than 4,000 fans was his first in front of a live audience since March.

One of the nation’s biggest triumph in terms of live events, however, came last month as tens of thousands celebrated the LGBTQ+ community in Taipei.

On the 31 October, the capital hosted the biggest in-person pride event of 2020 since the pandemic began, drawing an estimated 130,000 people.

 


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Taiwan revels in success of first post-Covid arena show

Taiwanese artist Eric Chou performed to a sold-out, full-capacity Taipei Arena (cap. 15,350) on 8 and 9 August, delivering Asia’s first post-Covid arena shows.

In July, the singer announced a series of four concerts in major arenas in Taiwan – including two upcoming dates at the 15,000-capacity Kaohsiung Arena on 5 and 6 September – which sold out in a quarter of an hour.

All attendees of the Tapei Arena shows were required to wear masks, undergo temperature checks upon entry, and provide identification that would facilitate contact tracing should the need arise. Pink medical masks and square alcohol wipes were provided.

“We were the first to do it during this Covid-19 situation, and there was a lot of preparation,” Chou told the South China Morning Post. “But the show went really well – every part was exactly like how I pictured it was going to be.”

The concerts come after the Taiwanese government lifted all limits on the number of people allowed to attend public gatherings, including cultural events, on 7 June, and removed the need for social distancing at concert halls and stadiums.

“The show went really well – every part was exactly like how I pictured it was going to be”

Taiwan has been praised worldwide for its response to the coronavirus crisis. The country, which has a population of more than 23 million, has recorded 479 cases of Covid-19 and only seven deaths. In early June, after no new locally transmitted cases were recorded for eight weeks, leading to the lifting of restrictions.

Taipei Arena has announced a number of concerts scheduled for the coming weeks, including Zhan Yawen’s 30th Anniversary Tour and the Folk 45 Summit.

The restart of arena shows comes following the Taiwan ministry of culture’s issuing of 2.1 million electronic cultural vouchers, worth NT$600 (€18) each, for tickets to concerts, art exhibitions and other cultural events, or to buy items at venues or culture-focused shops.

The NT$1.2 billion (€35.3m) programme aims to boost the cultural and arts sector and encourage people to attend cultural events as the Covid-19 situation subsides in Taiwan. The programme is expected to generate an estimated NT$5bn (€146.8m) for the sector.

Chou’s arena shows signal that Taiwan’s live music scene may return to something like normalcy sooner rather than later.


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Rapid sell-out for Asia’s first post-Covid arena shows

Tickets for a series of four concerts featuring Taiwanese artist Eric Chou have sold out in a quarter of an hour, indicating demand is high for the region’s first arena shows since coronavirus restrictions began.

Chou is scheduled to perform on 8 and 9 August at the 15,350-capacity Taipei Arena and on 5 and 6 September at the 15,000-capacity Kaohsiung Arena, with tickets for all four Taiwan shows selling out in just 15 minutes after going on sale this weekend.

In Taiwan, the government lifted all limits on the number of people allowed to attend public gatherings, including cultural events, on 7 June, and removed the need for social distancing at concert halls and stadiums.

The concerts are the first to be held at the venues since coronavirus restrictions were put in place early this year.

A named ticket system is in place to facilitate track and trace at the shows, with fans asked to fill in their name and contact number on the ticket upon purchase, or just before entering the venue in the case of ticket transfers.

The restart of arena shows comes following the Taiwan ministry of culture’s issuing of 2.1 million electronic cultural vouchers, worth NT$600 (€18) each, for tickets to concerts, art exhibitions and other cultural events, or to buy items at venues or culture-focused shops.

Tickets for a series of four concerts featuring Taiwanese artist Eric Chou have sold out in a quarter of an hour

The NT$1.2 billion (€35.3m) programme aims to boost the cultural and arts sector and encourage people to attend cultural events as the Covid-19 situation subsides in Taiwan. The programme is expected to generate an estimated NT$5bn (€146.8m) for the sector.

Taiwan has been praised worldwide for its response to the coronavirus crisis. The country, which has a population of 23.78 million, has reported 455 cases of the virus and seven deaths.

Elsewhere in northeast Asia, Japan gave the go-ahead for 5,000-person indoor concerts earlier this month, although plans to remove an upper capacity limit at events altogether from 1 August may be halted due to a recent rise in infections.

Creativeman’s Supersonic festival – a replacement of its usual Summer Sonic event – is still scheduled to go ahead from 19 to 21 September in Tokyo and 19 to 20 September in Osaka, featuring acts including the 1975, Post Malone, Wu-Tang Clan, Liam Gallagher, Fatboy Slim, Black Eyed Peas, Kygo and Steve Aoki.

In South Korea, a recent spike in new cases in Seoul and neighbouring cities is hindering the resumption of large-scale events.

This week, a ban on events of over 5,000 people was put in place in the Sonpa district of Seoul, leading to the postponement of upcoming shows at the 15,000-capacity Olympic Gymnastics Arena, or KSPO Dome. Around 5,200 fans were expect to attend each of the 15 concerts planned for the arena in the next three weeks.

Photo: Gene Wang/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Woman indicted for Taiwanese promoter scam

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office has reportedly charged a woman with fraud and forgery, for posing as a promoter for concerts by K-Pop groups, Mandopop star Andy Lau and Singaporean musician JJ Lin.

According to the Taipei Times, Chao Chung-ling is accused of defrauding six people who invested TWD 4.84 million (US$159,000) in her business after she claimed she was promoting a concert by Lau in Taiwan last year.

The individual in question, reportedly the proprietor of Taipei-based agency FD Model Co, had previously received TWD 4m ($132,000) from separate investors for a concert tour by K-pop band VIXX.

The report also states that Chao sought an investment of TWD 800,000 ($26,000) in January last year, again claiming she was putting on an Andy Lau show in Taiwan.

The Asian live industry has seen its fair share of scams in recent years

Chao was also allegedly sued last year by claimants who said they lost TWD 40m ($1.3m) on a concert she claimed she was promoting for K-pop superstars BTS. In another claim, an investor said he gave Chao TWD 6m ($198,000) for a series of dates by Taiwanese hip-hop band 911.

The Asian live industry has seen its fair share of scams in recent years. Last year, promoters, festivals and venues across Asia were contacted by bogus ‘agents’ claiming to represent artists such as Lady Gaga, Eminem, Rihanna and System of a Down.

More recently, several South Korean industry insiders were accused of defrauding promoters and investors of more than $4m by posing as representatives of BTS’ management company, Big Hit Entertainment.

Similar scams targeted European promoters in 2018, which saw fraudsters pose as representatives of Adele, Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé and more.

Photo: Huandy618/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) (cropped)

 


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Ticketmaster expands to Singapore, Taiwan

Ticketing giant Ticketmaster is expanding into Asia, establishing a presence in Taiwan and Singapore.

The move, which sees Ticketmaster acquire Taiwanese ticketer Tixcraft and open a Singaporean branch, brings the company’s operations to 32 countries worldwide.

As a result of the expansion, Chad Phillips, former managing director for ApacTic, has been appointed to the newly created role of managing director of Ticketmaster Asia.

The launch of Ticketmaster Singapore following the company’s selection as one of three ticketing partners for Singaporean sports and entertainment complex, Sports Hub, late last year, along with TEG’s Ticketek and Sistic.

Sports Hub incorporates the 55,000 capacity National Stadium and a 12,000 capacity indoor stadium, which serve as the main venues for concerts in Singapore, hosting acts including U2 and Mayday, along with a 3,000 capacity arena and other facilities.

In Taiwan, Ticketmaster takes control of concert ticketing platform Tixcraft, which works with promoters such as Live Nation Taiwan, B’in and iMe Taiwan. Tixcraft founder and managing director KT Chiu will stay on at the company, serving as Ticketmaster Taiwan MD.

“The live entertainment industry across Asia has seen some immense growth and right now is the perfect time to welcome Ticketmaster to Taiwan and Singapore”

“By acquiring market leaders Tixcraft in Taiwan and launching in Singapore, we have established two great bases with talented teams to support the bourgeoning live entertainment scene in Asia,” comments Ticketmaster International president Mark Yovich.

“We are introducing greater levels of service and choice to event organisers across the region and can now provide fans with seamless access to our worldwide marketplace of events.”

Ticketmaster Asia MD Phillips adds: “Over recent years, the live entertainment industry across Asia has seen some immense growth and right now is the perfect time to welcome Ticketmaster to Taiwan and Singapore. I’m hugely excited to be joining the team and look forward to managing the rollout of the world’s most innovative ticketing marketplace.”

The launch of Ticketmaster in Taiwan and Singapore complements Live Nation’s existing concert promotions business across Asia Pacific.

In 2019, the company acquired Singaporean promoter One Production and PR Worldwide in Malaysia, while also making senior appointments to its growing business in China. In December last year, Live Nation Asia launched Live Nation Connects, a new creative marketing agency to connect brands to fans across Asia.

Read IQ’s analysis on consolidation within the ticketing sector here.

Major moves: consolidation sweeps the ticketing sector


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‘World’s biggest arts venue’ opens in Taiwan

Weiwuying, a US$280m, 1,500,000sqft mega-venue Taiwan hopes will serve as the main cultural hub for east Asia, has opened to the public after 12 years in development.

Weiwuying – in full the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, Weiwuying – was designed by Dutch architect Mecanoo, and takes influence from the canopies of banyan trees in the 116-acre Weiwuying park, in central Kaohsiung. The single, sweeping building covers a surface area of 35 acres, and incorporates five performance spaces: a 2,236-seat opera house, a 1,981-seat concert hall, a playhouse seating up to 1,210, a 434-seat recital hall and an outdoor theatre, linking the building to the park.

According to Mecanoo, that makes it the world’s largest performing arts centre under one roof, and “Taiwan’s most significant cultural investment in a generation”.

A ceremony in the concert hall on 13 October, attended by Tsai Ing-Wen, president of the Republic of China (Taiwan’s official name), officially inaugurated the venue.

Weiwuying outside view

While music programming is largely classical, popular and world music gets a look-in, too: Taiwanese-Korean act Du Bud perform on 3 November, while French electronic project Cinema for Ears will play a pre-Christmas set exploring “the interplay of electronic music and sound art”.

Weiwuying’s artistic director, Chien Wen-Pin, comments: “Something that overseas visitors to Weiwuying will encounter is the passion for theatre, dance, spectacle and music that is everywhere in Taiwan. Our audiences are extraordinarily enthusiastic and knowledgeable. I will continue to work with artists at home and abroad to uncover new ideas for programming that reflect the very best in contemporary practice.

“Weiwuying, with its extraordinary facilities, gives us the opportunity to experiment – to be bold and innovative, and to try different things.”

 


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