Asia News: Sunburn, Yoshikiss, Coachella & Beijing

Two Die At Sunburn In India 
Two Indian men died of apparent drug overdoses on Dec. 27 at Sunburn, which its promoters say is the biggest dance music festival in Asia and the third biggest in the world. The annual event, which always takes place during the Christmas-New Year interval, is held in the Indian resort city of Goa. 

North Goa police told Sputnik News that the two men complained of feeling ill and collapsed within minutes of each other while waiting to enter the festival, which had already started. They were rushed to a nearby hospital where they were declared dead on arrival. 

Almost all recreational drugs are illegal in India, but tend to be available in abundance in Goa, which is famous for EDM parties. For that reason, the former Portuguese colony is one of India’s most popular year-round tourist destinations. 

These weren’t the first deaths at Sunburn. In 2009, a 23-year-old woman died after overdosing on PCP, and in 2014 a fashion designer died of an overdose at a different EDM festival in Goa. 

Police found 450 bottles of ketamine at Sunburn in 2013. Opposition forces in the local legislature have been trying for years to have the festival banned, not just because of the drug problems but because of complaints of noise. 

So far the complaints have resulted in no changes, probably because the festival brings huge amounts of money to the region. According to Sputnik, three-day tickets cost about $125, which is a lot in a country where the average annual salary is $300. Sputnik also reports that the local police are known to look the other way when it comes to drugs if they receive appropriate payoffs. 

Nevertheless, the local tourism minister on Dec. 29 thanked all participants for making this year’s edition of Sunburn a big success. “I am glad that the Sunburn Festival has successfully once again put Goa on the global music tourism map. I am also very happy to see the contribution the festival has made towards the economy of the state via the tourism and hospitality sectors,” he said via social media. 

Among the artists who performed this year were Martin Garrix, Afrojack, Dimitry Vegas, DJ Snake and Like Mike.

Yoshiki and KISS Team Up On New Year’s Eve

Following their surprise collaboration during KISS’s farewell Japan tour earlier in December, Yoshiki, leader of X Japan, and the iconic American band played “Rock and Roll All Nite” live during the New Year’s Eve broadcast of Japanese public broadcaster’s “Kouhaku Uta Gassen” (Red and White Song Battle), which is often cited as the most watched Japanese TV program of the year. The band, dubbing itself Yoshikiss for the occasion, was only announced a week or so before the broadcast. 

“I think we’re really going to shock people,” KISS leader Gene Simmons said prior to the broadcast. “It’s an honor to perform on NHK in my favorite country in the world. Yoshiki is a Japanese legend, but he never forgets to have a humble heart.” It was Yoshiki’s fifth appearance on the popular music program as either a solo artist or a member of X Japan.

Hatsune Miku
Crypton Future Media
– Hatsune Miku

Hatsune Miku And Bigbang Booked For Coachella

Two of Asia’s biggest acts will be appearing this spring at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California. 

Japan’s number one virtual pop star, Hatsune Miku, will be making the trip across the Pacific as part of her North American tour, though it won’t be the hologram’s first time in the U.S. 

After debuting in 2007, Hatsune Miku performed in America in 2011 and has opened for Lady Gaga, among others. In fact, Hatsune won’t be the first virtual artist to appear at Coachella. Tupac Shakur performed there in virtual form way back in 2012. The main difference this time is that Hatsune Miku has a full show with live music production and lighting, whereas Tupac only performed two songs. 
Hatsune will perform April 10 and 17 at the festival. During her tour she will also appear in Vancouver, Dallas, Atlanta, Washington D.C., New Jersey, Boston, Chicago and Toronto.

In addition, one of K-pop’s biggest acts of all time, Bigbang, will be making its comeback appearance at Coachella. The group has been on lengthy hiatus because the members were completing their mandatory 2-year military service. The group has since been reduced from five members to four owing to the fact that original member Seungri has been caught up in a number of criminal investigations. 

Before BTS became the biggest K-pop act in the world Bigbang, thanks to the writing and production talents of its leader G-Dragon, was considered the most dynamic and influential boy band in Asia. 

Beijing Plans $17.2B In Live Music Revenue By 2025

According to IQ magazine, the Beijing municipal government has come up with a plan to make the Chinese city an “international music capital” by 2025. As the actual capital of China, Beijing made about $8.6 billion from music activities in 2017 and hopes to increase that revenue to $17.2 billion by 2025. In 2019, China’s entire music industry was worth $53 billion, an 8% increase over the previous year’s worth.

The plan will include the construction of smaller live music venues, better copyright protections for artists and increased development of digital music functions and facilities. The government’s guidelines also target development of music technologies using AI composition and something called “musical emotional recognition.”
However, the central government has also designated the southern city of Chengdu as an “international music capital,” so there may be some competition, especially with regard to government investment. Several industry insiders told IQ that China’s music industry is still in its developmental stage and that government support could mean a lot. Internationally speaking, China remains “a relatively untapped marketplace.”

As a sidenote, Tencent, one of China’s biggest entertainment platforms, recently led a consortium in the acquisition of 10 percent of Universal Music Group.