In the wake of Jay Chou’s concerts in Tianjin, summer concert fervor in China seems unparalleled. Not only did these events, which spanned from September 7 to 10, pull in 185,000 attendees, but they also pumped an impressive 3 billion yuan (equivalent to $411 million) into the economy. This indicates not just the entertainment value of concerts but also their remarkable power to boost local tourism. In fact, tourism revenue rose by a notable 77.4% compared to figures from 2019.
The flip side to this musical coin, however, has been the frenzy surrounding ticket availability. Within a mere half-minute of release in July, approximately 130,000 tickets vanished from Damai, a prominent online ticket platform in China. This rush paved the way for scalpers to exploit fans, with some tickets reappearing at exorbitant prices on secondary platforms.
While some fans faced sticker shock from scalpers, others encountered scams. Heartbreaking stories surfaced on social platforms about eager fans being duped by fake sellers. One report highlighted a fan who parted with 76,000 yuan, only to receive nothing in return.
Recognizing the challenges, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism teamed up with the Ministry of Public Security to craft new regulations aimed at streamlining the management of large events that house over 5,000 attendees. This legislation mandates a real-name ticket purchasing and entry system. Essentially, the name of the ticket buyer must align with the concert-goer, and one ID can only secure one ticket per event. Moreover, at least 85% of tickets must be made available to the general public. As for the remaining tickets, they need to have personal details attached a day prior to the event to maintain this real-name entry principle. And crucially, in a nod to modern concerns, there’s a clear directive for data protection to avoid any potential breaches of privacy.
While these rules have garnered praise domestically, they might also hold lessons for the broader international community. With the global pent-up demand for live entertainment, scalping and security are pressing concerns. For instance, Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” is projected to create an economic ripple effect worth nearly $5 billion in consumer spending in the US. Yet, like China, issues of bots acquiring tickets and scalping persist.
Platforms elsewhere, like Ticketmaster, have made strides with initiatives such as their “Verified Fan” program. Still, the challenges remain manifold. Perhaps China’s proactive approach, which combines regulatory oversight with an understanding of cultural and economic imperatives, can offer valuable insights.
It’s clear that while concert booms can invigorate economies and satiate cultural appetites, they require thoughtful management to ensure both the industry’s and fans’ best interests are safeguarded. China’s recent regulatory response is a testament to this, underlining the importance of harmonizing economic growth with the well-being and safety of the public.