Asia News: Inside K-Pop, Livestreams, Green Day

Airbnb Goes Inside K-Pop 
Airbnb Experiences are activities designed and led by locals of a certain travel destination for people who book Airbnb properties in those localities. 
Now, according to Hong Kong Tatler, Airbnb Experiences has launched a six-day online festival  called “Inside K-Pop” that uses Korean pop stars to guide viewers to their favorite places in Seoul and reveal the workings behind the Korean music industry. 
The festival runs from Jan. 25 to 30 and will feature 14 “experiences” in four languages: English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese. 
Among the experiences available will be dance rehearsals and vocal practices with the stars, make-up tips for K-Pop photo sessions, and general advice on becoming a pop group. There will also be eating sessions at favorite watering holes and chats among various celebrities. Each experience costs $20. 
A representative of Airbnb told the magazine “’Inside K-Pop is a virtual passport to the magic of Seoul at a time when travel remains restricted, offering unprecedented access to some of K-pop’s biggest names both in front of and behind the curtain.”
Among the K-Pop acts who are participating in the venture are Monsta X, The Boyz, AleXa, Kevin Woo, Cravity and Nive. 
Avatar Technology Takes Off In Asia
Unique online concerts featuring avatars of featured performers are becoming more common in Asia, according to the website KrASIA.
A Chinese label manager with experience in online concerts told KrAsia that demand for online shows has surged drastically in China recently and that the job of the presenter is to tailor the “locations, filming techniques, visual and audio effects” to each artist. The manager said, “In the future, people will probably turn it into a regular thing. There’s still room to explore new forms and possibilities.”
In China, most online shows still feature “real artists,” but the trend is pointing toward digital avatars, as evidenced by the major Chinese entertainment firm Tencent Music Entertainment’s deal with virtual concert service Wave, which presented well-publicized virtual concerts for The Weeknd and John Legend last year. K-pop girl band Blackpink is presenting its first-ever online concert through YouTube at the end of January with the help of Wave. 
Tencent has four music platforms to present virtual concerts through its joint venture TME Live. The streaming platforms are accessed by 646 million people per month. 
There is also the burgeoning popularity and visibility of complete virtual artists, such as Japan’s Hatsune Miku. 
Recently, the Chinese video platform Bilibili invested in Lategra, a Japanese XR live entertainment production technology company that has provided support to a number of virtual idols, including China’s biggest, Luo Tianyi, which, in addition to having 2 million followers on Bilibili has 4 million on the microblogging website Weibo. 
Though Luo Tianyi has been performing live in front of audiences in hologram form for a number of years, the switchover to a virutal online performer should be relatively easy as well as more exciting, as one fan told KrAsia: “Virtual idols’ performances feature visual effects that real people could never achieve.” 
More importantly, virtual idols are not restricted by real life schedules and personal preferences. They can perform any time and in any capacity. In October, the Chinese video platform iQiyi presented a talent show with 31 virtual singers competing with one another by performing in front of real judges. It attracted 690 million views.
The market for virtual idols in China is expected to reach $210 million by 2023, about 15 times what it was worth in 2018, according to the Global Times. 
Though China is doing relatively well with taming the COVID crisis domestically, infections are bound to return now and in coming years, sparking official responses such as local lockdowns and restrictions on public activities, so the concert industry, which had been growing exponentially on the mainland in the years leading up to the emergence of COVID, is keen to develop its virtual concert game, though, as one insider told KrAsia, most music fans would still rather attend live concerts. In actuality both live shows and virtual shows will likely coexist on an almost equal footing from now on. 
Green Day Cancels Asia Tour
Green Day
Greg Allen / Invision / AP
– Green Day
Green Day’s Billy Joe Armstrong is fired up during the band’s set for the Global Citizen Festival at Central Park in NYC Sept. 23.

Green Day finally cancelled its spring 2021 Asia tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic after postponing it from spring 2020. 

The cancellations were announced by promoters MMI Live (Manila), Lushington Entertainments (Singapore) and Live Nation (Bangkok, Taiwan, Seoul) on January 15. 
Live Nation Asia also cancelled ticket sales for concerts in Osaka and Chiba in Japan through its local partner Creativeman Productions. According to the various websites, “while it was not possible to reschedule the tour at this time, the band hopes to see their fans in Asia in the near future.”

Foo Fighters Get Into The Sake Business
Foo Fighters announced a very specific partnership with a Japanese company on their YouTube channel recently. In a two-minute black-and-white video the group showed a Japanese sake brewer working on a batch of the distinctive rice wine with a new Foo Fighters song, “Shame Shame,” playing on the soundtrack. 
The voiceover explains that the noted brewer Tatenokawa, which is famous as one of the top quality makers of sake, has “collaborated with Foo Fighters” to produce a brand new sake blend “based on the preference of the sake-loving band members.” 
The spot mentions two types, with one called Hansho, which means “midnight,” a reference to the upcoming Foo Fighters album Medicine at Midnight.
According to the Japan popular culture website Soranews24, the band “remotely tasted a number of different offerings” from Tatenokawa and chose the ones that were used to create the new types. 
Both types are classified as the highest grade sake in Japan, meaning they are made only with rice, water and “koji” mold, with no fortifying alcohol. 
A 24.3-ounce bottle of the exclusive elixir will retail for 3,080 yen (about $30) and will be available on Feb. 5 to coincide with the release of the new album. 
There is even a box set that includes both types of sake plus the new album. As an added kick, the band’s name will be written on the label in a special calligraphic style that makes it look, on first glance, like Chinese kanji characters. The sake can be purchased through Tatenokawa’s online store or, appropriately, at Tower Records outlets in Japan.