Podcast: Story in the Story (4/13/2020 Mon.)
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From the People's Daily App.

This is Story in the Story.

The total revenue of China's performing arts market reached about $2.82 billion in 2019, an increase of 7.29 percent year-on-year.

Seventy-two percent of concertgoers were people born after 1990. Among them, female consumers were paying more money for live performances.

Last year, young Chinese accounted for 55 percent of consumers of performing arts.

Young Chinese are playing a more prominent role in fueling the country's performing arts market as more of them are going to concerts and theaters as part of their lifestyle and are showing a growing willingness to spend money for live performances.

Revenue from performances in tourism grew fast with an increase of 9.58 percent compared to 2018. Concert revenue increased 6.88 percent year-on-year, with people born after 1990 and 2000 becoming the major consumers.

Today’s Story in the Story looks at how China’s younger generation is fueling the country’s demand for performance-based entertainment.


Women in their 20s and 30s are willing to spend big on live performances.(Photo: China Daily)

In 2019, young artists became the mainstream attraction in the market, such as Modern Brothers.

Led by vocalist Liu Yuning, 30, the band launched its first nationwide tour in 2019. Liu rose to fame in 2018 on short-video app Douyin, which is known as TikTok outside China.

The top five Chinese cities with the most consumer power were Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou of Zhejiang province, Shenzhen and Guangzhou of Guangdong province.

"On the whole, ticket sales of concerts held in the southern part of China were higher than concerts held in the northern part of the country," a report said.

More consumers were willing to travel for shows, which made cross-city consumption, especially in the concert category, grow rapidly last year.

For example, 92 percent of the audience watching a concert celebrating the sixth anniversary of TF Boys, a three-member Chinese pop group, which was held in Shenzhen on Aug 10, came from different cities across the country.

Fans from 332 cities across the country watched Chinese singer-songwriter Hua Chenyu's concert in Haikou, South China's Hainan province, on Nov 15. The concert was one of the stops on his Mars tour in 2019.

One of his fans was Xiaomi, who declined to give her real name. She flew from her home in Chongqing along with three friends to watch the concert.

The 25-year-old, who works in a department store in Chongqing, has been a fan of Hua since she watched his concert at the National Stadium in Beijing in 2018.

"His concerts sold out in seconds. My friends and I tried to buy tickets as fast as we could," she said.

"It's a great trip to Haikou, which I had never been to before, along with my friends and to watch my idol's concert."   


TF Boys hold a concert to celebrate the group's sixth anniversary in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Aug 10.(Photo: China Daily)

Among all the ticket buyers for live shows, first-tier and second-tier cities still had a larger number of consumers, which numbered around 76 percent. In comparison, third-tier and fourth-tier cities accounted for about 24 percent of consumers.

In third-and fourth-tier cities, the same report said that people loved watching concerts more than theatrical dramas.

"It has now become a way of life for young people to spend money on performances by their idols and they form a positive attitude of life through following the young stars," said Zhang Yiwu, a professor at Peking University.

"It indicates China has entered a higher stage of development with better economic and social foundations. It's also a driving force for Chinese cultural and creative industries."   

Reality shows produced by online streaming platforms, such as Youku, iQiyi and Tencent Video, received a large number of views. The popularity of those reality shows helped propel live performances in 2019.

Two of the most popular reality shows in 2019 were “Street Dance of China” by Youku and “The Big Band” by iQiyi.

The nationwide tours of the artists who participated in these reality shows both sold out of tickets quickly.

“The Big Band,” which premiered last summer and brought once-underground indie music to the limelight, has launched a nationwide tour with major acts sharing stages.

The performing arts market in the first quarter of 2020 has been heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Artists and performing arts organizers have halted all tours and shows.

"However, online streaming shows have soared as record companies, artists and concert organizers are trying to find a connection with fans despite all of the cancellations and postponements of live shows," the report said, adding that “it may become a new trend among theater fans and concertgoers to enjoy shows online.”

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Lance Crayon, Brian Lowe and Da Hang. Music by bensound.com. Text from China Daily and Global Times.)