Chinese music festival goes online due to coronavirus

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BEIJING — With live performances canceled or postponed in China due to the coronavirus outbreak and millions of Chinese forced to stay home, one local indie label and music festival organizer is holding a free online streaming concert on video platform Bilibili.

The organizer, Modern Sky, dubbed the unusual streaming festival “Stay at Home Strawberry,” which showcases replays of live performances from previous editions of the company’s annual Strawberry Music Festival. In addition, some artists are also sharing videos of daily life in quarantine on the platform.

The event, which started on Tuesday, will be livestreamed daily from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. until Feb. 8.

Moggie Yang, a music fan who watched Wednesday’s show, said that while the idea was good, the execution left much to be desired. “Most of the performances are just prerecorded videos. And I don’t see how this event is centered around the nationwide virus outbreak, except for staying at home. Even offering a way to donate would be better.” 

Taking events online is a creative attempt to offset losses caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Modern Sky announced in November that it planned to hold 50 live music events in 2020. However, in light of recent events, the company is likely to lose more than 150 million yuan ($21.5 million), according to industry watchers.

A report from a research company Analysys estimated that China’s live entertainment industry drew revenue of 56 billion yuan in 2019, a rise of 7.5% from a year ago.

The Strawberry Music Festival is one of the biggest outdoor music festivals in China, popular among indie and rock music fans. The first was held in Beijing 10 years ago and it has also taken place in other cities such as Chengdu, Shanghai, and Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic.

KrASIA is a digital media company focused on technology-driven businesses and trends across the Asia-Pacific region. It is part of 36Kr, a tech news portal based in Beijing. Nikkei has a minority stake in 36Kr.


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