EDM's Big Asia Play: Promoters Look to Break New Market With Festivals, Conferences
As Shanghai hosts the Asian International Music Summit , discussions begin about how to expand EDM's largest untapped market in China.This article originally appeared on Billboard
On Sept. 29, 300 delegates from all sectors of the electronic music industry will converge in Shanghai for the third International Music Summit in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss one thing: how to unlock the world’s largest untapped market for dance music.
In many ways, the shift is already happening. In 2012, Ultra Music Festival expanded to South Korea, adding events in Japan, Indonesia and Singapore in the following years. In 2016, the promoter threw eight events in as many locales -- South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Bali, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Japan, with headliners including Afrojack, DJ Snake, Deadmau5, Kygo and Martin Garrix -- which attracted more than 350,000 fans, a 56 percent increase over 2015, bringing in an estimated $29.5 million in ticket sales. IMS launched its Asian conference in 2014 in Singapore, shifting to Shanghai for a China-focused event last year before expanding its scope to Asia-Pacific for the 2016 edition.
Now, others have joined in. Over the past two months, two of the largest dance music promoters in the world -- SFX's Made Event and Insomniac -- have announced plans to expand Electric Zoo to China and Electric Daisy Carnival to India, respectively, joining home-grown events such as A2Live's STORM Festival in China, now in its fourth year, and Sunburn Festival in India, which started in 2007.
Clearly, the dance-music industry is ramping up its investment in Asia, looking to tap into its population of 4 billion -- some 60 percent of the world's population -- to grow business at a time when North America’s market is beginning to slow down. But will the challenges of the region -- lack of infrastructure, conservative cultural norms and stringent governmental regulations -- stop the expansion in its tracks?