Asia's concert scene continues to grow

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 05 2014 08:11 AM | Updated as of Jun 05 2014 04:11 PM

Ovation Productions has mounted a second One Direction concert in Manila as tickets to the first show were quickly sold out.

MANILA – The year 2014 has so far been great for the Asian concert scene, with more major acts from different parts of the world heading to the region to perform for their fans.

Some of the foreign artists who have performed in the Philippines this year as part of their Asian tour include the French alternative rock band Phoenix (January 21), Canadian pop rock singer Avril Lavigne (February 17), hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (March 16), Bruno Mars (March 22), Grammy-winning singer Lionel Richie (April 5) and K-Pop girl group 2NE1 (May 17).

American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, DJ Kaskade and hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar, meanwhile, headlined the country’s first-ever 7107 International Music Festival held last February, attracting visitors from different parts of the region.

More performers are lined up to hold concerts in the Philippines in the coming months.

Other Asian countries were fortunate enough to welcome acts such as Metallica, who last performed in the region around two decades ago.

Metallica performed in Singapore in August 24, 2013, two decades since they last held a concert in the city-state.

Organizers and promoters in the region have been one in saying that foreign acts – particularly from the United States and Europe – have been making pit stops in Asia as they recognize the growing disposable income among people in the region.

“They see the big opportunity in developing a market for themselves in markets like China and India,” Alan Ridgeway, president of international and emerging markets for Live Nation Entertainment, one of the world’s leading concert promoters, earlier told AFP.

“They could use festivals as a platform to introduce their music to a new audience, they can then come back and do multi-city tours and start building a following.”

Despite the pricey tickets, concerts of Western music acts in Asia are usually packed, if not sold out, they noted. Just recently, for instance, frenzied fans camped out to get tickets to One Direction’s concert in Manila in 2015, prompting Ovation Productions to request for a second show.

VIP passes to One Direction’s concert were priced at nearly P18,000 per person, but these were easily sold out. Previous concerts by Aerosmith, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna and Lady Gaga had similar rates.

Another factor to consider is the expanding music tastes of Asians, making them attractive to bands and other artists. This can be attributed to the increasing use of social media and the Internet, which exposes users to genres apart from popular music.

The same seems to be the case with theater, with promoters saying that Asians’ familiarity and fascination with musicals in Broadway and West End encourage them to bring these shows to the region.

A number of theater shows have been staged in Asia in recent years, from “Wicked” and “Stomp” to “Phantom of the Opera.”

“It’s amazing how many Filipinos have seen the show before, in Singapore or in Broadway,” James Cundall, chief executive officer of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, earlier told ABS-CBNnews.com, referring to “Wicked.” “It’s thanks to these people as this gave us the impetus to bring it here.”

The growing concert scene in Asia does not only benefit organizers and promoters in the region but also other businesses that forge tie-ups with artists, from merchandise producers to hotels and airlines.

AirAsia, for instance, has scored a partnership with Taylor Swift as the country pop singer continues her tour in Southeast Asia.

The budget carrier has designed an aircraft livery for Swift, which will act as the singer's private jet during her Southeast Asian shows.

Taylor Swift has partnered with AirAsia for her Southeast Asian tour.

“She’s (Swift) very popular, she’s got a huge following in Asia. She has a certain uniqueness, something different that appeals not only to those who like country music, but to everyone around the world. And we thought that this melds well with our brand – young, edgy and always looking for something unique,” Aireen Omar, chief executive officer of AirAsia Berhad, told ABS-CBNnews.com.

“To us, I think she represents what we are as an airline, as a company, as a culture. And the fact that the tickets were sold out within a few hours in any of the cities she is performing, it goes to show that she is very, very relevant,” she added.

According to Omar, concerts by big artists such as Swift give them an opportunity to build their brand globally.

“This chance to work with Taylor marks another milestone for us,” she said.