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Alda plots in-person Rave Culture fest in Thailand

Following the success of its first Rave Culture show, which welcomed 1,400 fans to Cologne’s Lanxess Arena in July, Dutch electronic promoter Alda is planning an “even more spectacular show” in Thailand this December.

The first Thai music festival since early 2020, Rave Culture part two will be held in Nong Nooch Tropical Garden in Pattaya, on the Gulf of Thailand, on 12 December. A co-pro with Bangkok’s 808 Festival and Amsterdam-based creative agency 20 Agency, Rave Culture welcomes a “top-tier” line-up, says Alda, as well as high-end production featuring lasers, LEDs, “state-of-the-art” lighting and other special effects.

Performers will include trance star Andrew Rayel, hardstyle duo Sub Zero Project, psy-trance act Vini Vici and future-rave pioneer Morten, as well as Rave Culture founders W&W. W&W played at the inaugural Rave Culture festival, as well as an Alda-organised virtual-reality live stream which attracted more than a million viewers in May.

Pattaya is known as the nightlife capital of Thailand, while the 500-acre Nong Nooch gardens will provide a “beautiful setting” for the event, adds an Alda statement.

Tickets for Rave Culture, which takes place as part of day two of 808 Festival, start at ฿2,950 (€81) for general admission and are on sale now.


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Thai promoter charged over non-socially distanced show

A concert promoter has been charged with violating Thailand’s restrictions on mass gatherings after organising a non-socially distanced concert attended by thousands 2,500 people.

Paisant Vettayayong, the organiser of a 25 July show by popular luk thung (Thai country music) singer Jenny, is accused of violating an emergency decree banning non-distanced large-scale public gatherings until 31 August. Photos posted to social media appear to show hundreds of unmasked concertgoers packed into a temporary indoor arena for the Red Cross Fair charity event, held near Nakhon Sri Thammarat in southern Thailand.

In a 4 August news release, the Thai Ministry of Public Health confirmed that the concert, which was attended by 2,582 people, did “not meet government standards” and therefore posed a “high change of Covid-19 transmission”.

Paisant Vettayayong is accused of violating an emergency decree banning large-scale public gatherings until 31 August

Paisant, who admitted wrongdoing, is liable for a fine of up to ฿40,000 (US$1,300) or a two-year prison sentence, the Bangkok Post reports.

While the show attracted significant public criticism, including from Thailand’s prime minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, it emerged on Sunday (9 August) that no concertgoers had been infected with Covid-19.

At press time, Thailand had no new daily cases of Covid-19. Some 3,351 Thais have had the disease since January, 58 of which died.


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Tuk Tuk Fest: Thailand’s take on drive-in shows

Thailand’s capital of Bangkok is the latest city to offer its own take on the Covid-safe drive-in concert format, introducing the Amazing Thailand Tuk Tuk Festival, set to take place on 8 August.

Organised by Chang Music Connection, in cooperation with Woody World, ZAAP and Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the festival will see fans hop into their own auto rickshaws, or tuk tuks, a three-wheeled motorised vehicle used through Southeast Asia, to access the festival grounds at waterside promenade Asiatique: The Riverfront.

Each of the 200 tuk tuks will be allocated a 16-square-metre spot from which to watch the performances, with waiters on hand to provide food and drink, and escort fans to the restrooms.

Thailand’s capital of Bangkok is the latest city to offer its own take on the Covid-safe drive-in concert format

Rock band Potato will headline the seven-hour event, playing alongside singer-songwriter Stamp Aphiwat, hip-hop act Joey Boy, singer Palmy, boyband Three Man Down, indie group Taitosmith and DJ Taidy.

The tuk tuk festival is the latest wheely good idea to come from concert promoters looking to put on live shows while adhering to coronavirus regulations, and follows the adoption of drive-in concerts from Moscow to Mexico, and the creation of the world’s first bike-in arena in Italy.

More information about the festival can be found on the event’s Facebook page.


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Polygon introduces ‘world-first’ 360° 3D sound stage

Polygon, a UK-based start-up which claims to have invented “the world’s first fully immersive 3D 360° sound stage”, will officially launch Polygon Live at Wonderfruit festival in Thailand next month.

Designed around an L-Acoustics processor, the Polygon Live arena “changes the status quo” by giving performers – who are first flown to Polygon’s London office to ‘pre-spatialise’ their music – “the ability to perfectly spatialise sounds within, but also to physically move sounds around, a space”, putting the fan at the centre of immersive surround-sound experience.

Christian Heil, CEO and founder of L-Acoustics, says: “Sound is by definition a spatialised medium. It’s how the human species naturally experiences sound: detailed, multidimensional and localised. Today at concerts we should instead be asking, ‘Why is the sound not spatialised?’ Until recently, the answer to this question was because we didn’t have a user-friendly and cost-effective ecosystem to reproduce natural, 3D sound.”

“Polygon and Wonderfruit have showcased L-ISA technology since 2017 and can be considered pioneers in the use of spatialised sound in the electronic and dance music world,” Heil adds. “EDM is a thrilling application for L-ISA because the genre does not tie the physical localisation of sound to a known and recognisable instrument such as a violin or a drum kit. This opens up tremendous freedom to have sound travel, shapeshift and ricochet, independently of where the sound is made.

“Today at concerts we should instead be asking, ‘Why is the sound not spatialised?’”

“L-ISA becomes a kind of instrument, enveloping fans in entirely new sensations and perceptions. It’s exciting and Polygon is at the forefront of a sonic and creative revolution that is only just beginning to unfold.”

Polygon CEO Nico Elliott adds: “After many years researching 3D sound we are excited to officially launch Polygon Live. We believe that Polygon will redefine how live music is experienced and set a new benchmark for the industry.”

At Wonderfruit this year, Polygon Live will take the form of a bamboo stage designed by lighting designer/architect Visual Systems, also featuring scent dispersion, pyrotechnics and tubed LED lighting.

The Polygon Live line-up at Wonderfruit includes leading electronic musicians and DJs including Be Svendsen, Luis Rosenberg, Viken Arman Alban Endlos, Martha Van Straaten and Matanza.

Wonderfruit 2019 takes place from 12 to 16 December at Siam Country Club in Pattaya, Chonburi.


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Company behind BTS to form new girl band

Big Hit Entertainment, home to K-pop sensations BTS, is calling global auditions to launch a new girl band, in conjunction with its label Source Music.

The auditions are taking place in 16 cities worldwide in the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand.

The auditions will be used to select members for a new girl group, aimed to debut in 2021.

Big Hit chief executive and founder Bang Si-Hyuk and chief brand officer Min Hee-jin are leading the project, with Bang overseeing all elements of production and Min focusing on creative direction and branding.

The new band will be Big Hit’s first girl group since Min joined the company in January. Min previously worked at Korean record label and agency SM Entertainment, where she worked on projects for girl groups Girls’ Generation, f(x) and red velvet.

Big Hit Entertainment, home to K-pop sensations BTS, is calling global auditions to launch a new girl band

Founded in 2005, Big Hit focuses on music production, artist management and publishing. The company is behind artists Lee Hyun and Tomorrow X Together (TXT). The company’s most famous creation, BTS, recently broke more box-office records with tour film Bring the Soul: The Movie.

Big Hit has enjoyed a profitable 2019 so far, generating revenues in six months that almost surpass last year’s total. The company recently announced plans for a BTS TV series and added to its partnership with game publisher Net Marble, acquiring music gaming company Superb.

The full list of audition dates and locations can be found below, with more information available via the Plus Global Audition Twitter and Instagram pages.


Los Angeles, New York City: 5 October
Perth, Singapore: 12 October
Melbourne: 13 October
Busan, Gwangju, Osaka, Sapporo, Taipei: 19 October
Seoul, Tokyo, Kaohsiung: 20 October
Hanoi, Bangkok: 26 October
Ho Chi Minh: 27 October


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AEG pushes into south-east Asia with new arenas

AEG is to make its first major investment in south-east Asia with two new music and entertainment venues in Thai capital Bangkok.

In partnership with retail developer the Mall Group, AEG will invest more than ฿10 billion (US$309m) into two arenas, dubbed Bangkok Arena and EM Live, each of which will anchor an entertainment ‘district’, a model seen in other AEG-led developments such as Brisbane Live in Australia,  The O2 in London, LA Live in Los Angeles, Mercedes Platz in Berlin and Nashville Yards in Tennessee.

EM Live will have a capacity of over 6,000, and be the centre of a retail and entertainment centre in Sukhumvit called the Emsphere, while the up-to-16,000-seat Bangkok Arena will be located in a new Bangkok Mall, described as a “city within the city”.

“These two significant developments will be a game-changer”

AEG will manage and operate both arenas, and work with the Mall Group to programme and market events including concerts, family shows, sports and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions). Recent AEG-promoted shows in Asia include Justin Bieber, Celine Dion, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Metallica and the Rolling Stones.

“South-east Asia is going through a transformation,” comments Adam Wilkes, president and CEO of AEG Asia. “As incomes rise and spending power increases, consumers in the region are demanding more sophisticated entertainment experiences. In the Mall Group, we have not only found an outstanding partner but also an innovative company that is led by an insightful and forward-thinking leader, Khun Supaluck. […]

“These two significant developments will be a game-changer, giving Bangkok and Thailand the opportunity to become the most important retail and entertainment hub in south-east Asia.”


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Concerts cancelled following Thai king’s death

Several live music events have been cancelled or postponed following the death of the king of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, yesterday afternoon.

Among the concerts and festivals no longer going ahead are Morrissey’s show at Moonstar Studios (~1,500-cap.) in Bangkok next Tuesday (18 October), the RTSM Fest: Revolution metal festival in Bangkok next weekend, a fan meeting in Bangkok by K-pop girl group Gfriend, scheduled for 13 November, and at least four upcoming events by Thailand’s biggest promoter, Bec-Tero Entertainment.

A one-year period of mourning was today declared for King Bhumibol, who had reigned since 1946

Viji Corp, the promoter of the cancelled Morrissey concert, writes on Facebook: “Due to the recent loss of our king, the sold-out Morrissey concert has been cancelled. Refunds provided at points of purchase.”

Thai newspaper The Nation has a list of all cancelled events.

A one-year period of mourning was today declared in Thailand for King Bhumibol, who had reigned since 1946. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is now the world’s longest-serving monarch.


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Several nights in Bangkok

As a teenager growing up on the north-east coast of the US, music was my everything. It was the passion and fabric of my life, something I not only consumed but meticulously analysed. So it was no surprise that, years later, a particularly unfulfilling post-university job would trigger my relocation to the west coast’s mecca of music: Los Angeles.

In LA, my lack of knowledge about music as an industry, and my equally empty industry contact list, did not stop me from talking my way into a prized internship at A&M Records, followed by my first gig at EMI/Capitol Records, and then a job on the live side of the business under Bill Silva at House of Blues Concerts/Hewitt/Silva.

It was during the House of Blues years that I discovered my second passion: a three-week holiday in Thailand opened my eyes to the wonderful world of travel. Exploring other countries, learning about different cultures, getting mundane things done (or not done!) on foreign soil – these still fascinate me. My love of travel is the reason why, toward the end of 2009, I once again pulled myself out of a state of comfort to pursue life abroad, somewhere in Asia.

That was almost seven years ago. Since then, I’ve helped produce shows and tours in Japan, Korea, mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia – both as an independent contractor and as a company man. In my current position as vice-president of Live Nation’s Asia tour division, I focus on producing western tours/events and developing touring platforms in the region, where some of my greatest challenges lie in bridging western expectations with cultural, operational or even political differences in each country. What works and translates well in the West isn’t necessarily desired, popular or appropriate in the East!

The Asian market, which is so often treated as a homogenous entity, can have radically different music tastes from country to country: a massive hit in the Philippines could sink in Singapore or South Korea, and vice versa. This makes touring significantly more challenging in comparison to North America or Europe, especially when an “Asia tour” needs to consists of more than just Japan and Singapore!

Essentially, there are three fundamental challenges:

1. Artists want to be paid more to come to Asia vs North America or Europe due to increased expenses for freight and flights

2. Despite the desire for higher artist fees across the board, many artists simply cannot command the same ticket value across the entire region

3. Promoters also shoulder increased expenses such as world-class sound, stage, lights, venues, etc., in comparison to western counterparts

Asia is an emerging market with a population that will continue to see an increase in disposable income… and has become a proven and viable touring route

In addition to these competing financial requirements, there are cultural and political issues that cannot be ignored if an artist wants to play in a particular country. These should not be taken lightly. Awareness of political hot-button topics and acceptable social norms as well as local holidays is crucial.

You don’t want to play China during Spring Festival [Chinese new year] or Jakarta during Ramadan! As a result of these market differences, Live Nation espouses a ‘boots on the ground’ philosophy where we self-promote our shows through nine regional offices that employ the best on-the-ground, in-market promoters.

Despite all these challenges, Asia is an emerging market with a population that will continue to see an increase in disposable income and a related interest in entertainment and technology.

The region has become a proven and viable touring route with the development of standalone Asia tours (such as the recent ones for Madonna, Maroon 5, Bon Jovi, Imagine Dragons, etc.) and by offering a high level of service through continuity of production, safety and transparency. We are also starting to see more Asian dates linked to an Australian tour. With Perth less than five hours from Singapore, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, travel time is shorter than flying from Singapore to Japan!

I think the sustainable future of the live entertainment business in Asia will depend heavily on a strong mixture of domestic and international talent. In addition, I believe a venue network that can grow emerging talent from clubs to theatres to arenas to stadiums, is essential, as some countries have a crippling shortage of venues and/or availability.

In conjunction with this, having a universal streamlined ticketing system in place would help add a layer of efficiency and transparency to the region. Finally, as the Asian market continues to develop, I see sponsorship playing a less crucial role in determining tour viability.


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