| 20 May 2024
Chinese company Modern Sky plans to grow by 30-40 per cent in next two years

SINGAPORE: Like many in the Asian market, China is a huge market for the live music business. According to Modern Sky GM Lihui Shen, the music industry in the country is rapidly picking up and in the next two years, Modern Sky is expected to grow by 30-40 per cent. The revelation came during the ‘China Live!' session at Music Matters, which is part of the three-day long event All That Matters.

Divulging more about his 2015 plans, he said that the company will host 1500 small-scale gigs and 100 large-scale acts. He also added that hosting 30 festivals around the globe will be on the company's ‘to-do list'. Shen told that it will expand to European countries, after entering the US market last year with the Modern Sky Festival in New York.

The company did face hiccups in 2014 when the Chinese government failed to grant them licenses to host one the biggest festivals- Strawberry Music Festival, due to security reasons. Talking about the security concerns, Shen said, "Three major festivals were cancelled in China, but we resumed work on them. Strawberry Music is a very important festival for us in China as it attracts a huge crowd." The company, however, did manage to host it on 1 May in Shanghai.

Some of the major challenges existing players in the country face, include the time and energy spent on permissions from authorities. Another challenge is that the market is not large as it should be to. "There are Internet companies, who are doing many offline activities and we foresee them as our competitors," said Shen. He also said that there are many indie artistes signed by these internet companies and that the artistes are touring across China. He added that 80 per cent of these artistes are located in Beijing alone; the reason being that the value chain in Beijing is more comprehensive and it supports them better. Shen also stated that there are at least 30-40 cities in China that can manage the large live set-up.

When quizzed about international competition, Shen did not shy away, saying, "These international companies in China are not doing very well because China is a unique market. If you look at the artistes coming into China, they are all international artistes coming to the country and most shows take place in major cities that can pull a decent crowd, but it does not go beyond (the interiors of China)." He also pointed out that international label companies are not doing very well in China because they have to deal with piracy issues. "However, live companies can pull audiences in major cities, but beyond that they cannot get international acts. This is a great opportunity not only for local companies, but anyone that is interested in the market in China."

Commenting on the country's pop culture, Shen said that indie artistes are doing very well as "their quality of sound can be matched to their counterparts oversees. Pop will continue to rule before other genres become known."