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CMU@TGE Top Questions: How can you capitalise on the imminent “explosive growth” of live music in China?

By | Published on Friday 27 April 2018

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With The Great Escape getting closer, we have been busy considering ten questions that will be answered during the three CMU Insights conferences that are set to take place there this year: The Education Conference (16 May), The AI Conference (17 May) and The China Conference (18 May). Today the final question: how can you capitalise on the imminent “explosive growth” of live music in China?

Although many of the global headlines regarding the Chinese music market have focused on recorded music – in particular the deals between the Western record companies and Tencent, NetEase and Alibaba – the country’s live music industry is also growing at an incredible rate.

In its Global Entertainment And Media Outlook report last year, PWC reckoned that the Chinese live music industry was worth $217 million in 2016. Which is still relatively modest given the size of the market, but the report also predicted that the recent rapid growth of the sector will only continue, so that it will be worth $301 million in 2021.

The report noted that the Chinese live entertainment market has “until now” been tagged as “a sleeping giant”. It went on: “Australia, with a population of just 24 million, currently has a greater music market in terms of total revenue on account of its superior live industry. Not for long: China’s music market is sprinting”.

Speaking to IQ magazine last year, the founder of one of the many festival franchises that has emerged in China in recent years, Storm festival’s Eric Zho, concurred with the stat-compilers over at PWC. Reckoning the Chinese live music market was still “nascent” but maturing by the day as consumers become “more refined” in their musical tastes, he declared: “We’re on the cusp of explosive growth”.

That explosive growth creates huge opportunities for artists and music entrepreneurs in China, and also for the global music community. China’s own live industry is still evolving, though a number key players have already emerged – of which Modern Sky probably has the highest profile outside the country. Though the aforementioned Alibaba has also moved into live as well as recorded music, and the web giant is also now active in ticketing.

For international artists and music companies, capitalising on the live opportunities in China requires understanding quite how live entertainment works in this market, and finding the right partners based in the country. Back in that IQ interview, Zho remarked: “When foreign companies come here they don’t know what to do – China is a unique market, and unless you figure out how to localise, to work with local partners, you’re never going to win”.

The China Conference at The Great Escape is all about getting some insider insight into this unique market, with reps from various businesses based in the country joining the debate across the day, including Outdustry, Fake Music Media, Kanjian Music and the aforementioned Modern Sky. If winning means educating yourself about music in China, let the education begin!

The China Conference takes place on Friday 18 May – more info here. See more questions we’ll answer at The Great Escape here.



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