The Foibles of Touring In China

China has always been a difficult get for touring artists. The mandate from Beijing is clear: while music is meant to entertain, officials tell industry executives, it should not recklessly promote what may be seen as unhealthy ideas or dangerous behavior. There’s a lot more to this story. Thus, every single show needs to apply for a permit before being approved the sell tickets. China is the ultimate enigma for the music business: It has seemingly unlimited potential as the most populous country in the world, but artists and their concert promoters are still facing unique obstacles to growth there. And while Ultra Music Festival managed to pull off its Beijing event last weekend (Sept. Dua Lipa recently had the experience of this first hand. “Going ahead with the club takeover could have affected the outcome of the full 2-day Beijing event and therefore was cancelled so as not to jeopardise the main ULTRA China Beijing Festival,” an Ultra rep says. After a brilliant debut Chinese performance in Guangzhou, a bizarre incident at Dua Lipa’s performance Sept. Officials are a common scapegoat when event planners can’t properly complete all the proper preparations to launch an event in coordination with authorities, but Ultra’s statement didn’t blame the government or local authorities. Doing music business in China demands a nuanced understanding of — and collaboration with — the government. Sources vary on reasons for the cancellation: The event’s public statement cryptically blamed communication and circumstances outside of expectations. Read the whole thing here. 15-16) after an unexplained postponement in June, Ultra’s Shanghai club takeover, which had been slated to start Sept. 8, was canceled just days before showtime. 12 in Shanghai highlighted the continued adjustments ahead for artists and promoters in the country: security officials removed fans at the Shanghai show for simply standing and dancing. Cultural restrictions abound and can often be a moving target for anyone hoping to perform live. This is hardly an unusual story as authorities tend to be inconsistent in every aspect of the business. Background checks, lyrics of the proposed set list, and more are all critical factors subject to review by the local authorities.
The Foibles of Touring In China