Taiwan’s Pop Queen Calling It Quits

The Queen of Taiwanese Pop Music, Jody Chiang, announced Jan. 2 that she is retiring from performing at the age of 53 and will hold a series of 16 farewell concerts in Taipei and Kaohsiung in July and August. But it seems demand far outstrips supply.

Photo: facebook.com/divajody

Immediately, fans camped out in front of locations where tickets would go on sale Jan. 5. Naturally, they sold out quickly, jamming up websites in the process. Bids for tickets on resale sites like Ticketbis were topping NT$40,000 ($1,250) for seats originally going for NT$6,800.

The cheapest seats are going for 10 times the face value. The concert’s oganizers expected this kind of excitement and made arrangements for all tickets to be sold over a period of three days starting in order to confound scalpers, but the scalpers, encouraged by Taiwan’s lucrative ticket resale market, have come up with ways to “circumvent the hurdles set by organizers,” according to the China Post, mainly through the hiring of flesh-and-blood proxies to stand in line or devising programs to automatically purchase tickets online at a faster rate than humans could.

The demand was so great that Chiang’s management announced Jan. 7 that more concert dates would be added after the organizer resolved “the ticketing system,” which had become virtually inoperable during the designated three-day period.

“We want to ensure that everyone can get their tickets,” said Chiang’s manager, Eric Chen, on his Facebook page. Hundreds of people who had stood in line outside the organizer’s office in Taipei to buy tickets weren’t able to obtain any and refused to leave. Some started banging on the doors and demanding to be let in.

The China Times estimates that 300,000 Taiwanese want to attend the shows, which so far will be able to accommodate only 60,000 people. Despite several of her albums selling more than 1 million copies each, Chiang didn’t give concerts as an adult until 2008. She is unique in Asia in that her popularity extends three generations.

Update: Chiang has added nine more dates. Gigs booked July 25 through Aug. 23 take place at Taipei Arena, while the Aug. 29-Sept. 13 shows are happening at Kaohsiung Arena.