Asia: Britney Spears, Rock Hall, G-Dragon

Britney Singapore Seating Upgrade

courtesy of Singapore Indoor Stadium

Due to demand and comments from fans about ticket prices and stage layout, the organizers of Britney Spears‘ June 30 show in Singapore have added seats and released more tickets.

Event promoter IME SG have added two seating categories as well as a standing zone. The stage layout would also feature an extension runway out into the audience.

It will be Spears’ first-ever concert in Singapore.

IME said on its Facebook page that it decided on the additions and changes after “discussions together with Britney’s management.” The two new seating categories will be priced less than the top two categories already available, and two lower categories of seats will be reduced in price in order to accommodate fans’ budgets more realistically. Some of the new seating will have “restricted views.”

IME also said, “These updates come after our management team returned from Britney’s Asia tour over the past week and after mutual [consensus] with her management, as well as coordination made with the show venue and local ticketing agents.”

The concert will take place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Japan Rock Hall

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will open its first overseas branch sometime in the near future and it will be in Japan.

According to various media, a short-term “inaugural event” featuring traveling exhibitions of current attractions of the Hall will take place in Tokyo this September, with a permanent site to be announced at the time that will open at a later date in the middle of the capital.

The official name of the complex will be the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Japan and it will be operated through a licensing agreement between the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and an “unnamed group of Japanese collaborators.”

This Japanese group, which licensed broadcast rights for previous induction ceremonies, will fund construction of the new hall, which has a budget of $24 million. The original hall in Cleveland will “maintain creative control” of the new project in Japan, “sending traveling exhibits and creating permanent ones for viewing.”

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Japanese is the second-most popular language for the museum’s brochures.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame CEO Greg Harris wrote, “Rock and roll is a universal language and this is an incredible opportunity for us to collaborate with the Japan Project Production Committee to deliver an exciting experience internationally. Japan is the second-largest music market in the world, making it the perfect place for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s first international expansion.”


G Dragon
AP Photo
– G Dragon
During a press conference in Hong Kong.

G-Dragon, one of K-pop’s biggest writer-producers and the leader of top boy band Big Bang, has caused quite a stir in South Korea with the release of his latest solo album – the physical copy of which doesn’t actually contain the music.

The physical record of “Kwon Ji Yong,” is not, in fact, a record in the sense of a vinyl LP or plastic CD, but rather a USB drive. More to the point, the drive itself does not contain tracks for the album but simply links a device to a site hosting the music.

For that reason Korea’s Gaon Chart, which is one of the main gauges of popularity for K-pop and managed by the Korea Music Content Association, announced that it will not count sales of Kwon Ji Yong, which was released June 19.

Currently, the association’s rules define an album as “songs fixed in a concrete object,” according to the International Business Times, and since the USB only links to a site, it cannot be considered an album itself.

G-Dragon’s management company, YG Entertainment, said the album was put in a USB format in order to “provide more diverse contents in addition to music. A regular CD is about 700 megabytes, and that is barely enough space for 20 songs. We can’t even have a single high definition music video in the CD. G-Dragon’s USB album is four gigabytes. The USB is big enough to hold dozens of songs and high definition music videos, and it is the most portable of all music storage devices.”

The USB does not come with song or video data. When the USB is inserted into a computer, the owner can follow a link to a website, which provides not only music but also photos and videos that can be downloaded to the USB.

The link is good until the end of the year. The problem for G-Dragon and YG is that without Gaon’s approval, the album will not be ranked, and Korean TV music shows, the main engine for music promotion in South Korea, will not play the songs from the album.

YG, however, has told media that this is not a big problem, presumably because G-Dragon is such a huge star he does not really need conventional PR.

“YG is more interested in new music and the new world,” the agency said in a company blog post. “We think the whole issue is a structural problem, those holding on to the old way of thinking and not being able to accept the changes that are happening right now.”

In any event, the majority of music buyers in Korea now either stream or download music onto hard drives.

A decreasing number of consumers buy CDs. The artist himself has dismissed the controversy, saying on his Instagram account that “the most important thing is not the external packaging, but the fact that my music and songs containing my voice can be played by anyone, anywhere.”

Nevertheless, the USB is causing problems outside of the issue of formats and charts. Fans who have bought the album are complaining about the flash drive, which is covered with a red enamel with lettering on it.

Apparently, the enamel rubs off on the user’s hands, leaving red stains. YG has responded that this odd attribute is intentional. The red ink is supposed to come off in order to “convey the concept of G-Dragon’s DNA and existence inside his mother’s womb.”

The singer’s birthdate and blood type are “scratched into” the red enamel on the USB drive along with his name. In any case, two singles from the album are currently in the top 10 of most non-Gaon charts.