Asia News: Shanghai Arena, Singapore GP, RouteNote & More

(Photo by Visionhaus/Corbis via Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 19: Frontman for Chinese band Re:TROS Hua Dong performs with the band as support to Depeche Mode at the Arena, Birmingham on November 19, 2017 in Birmingham, England.

Rock Returns To Shanghai Arena

On May 22, Chinese post-punk trio Re-TROS held the biggest offline rock concert in China since the advent of the COVID pandemic. The show, “After the Applause,” presented by Live Nation China, took place at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai and drew 10,000 fans. 
The last time the band played live in front of people was October 2019, when they toured Japan. 
Re-TROS, which is short for “rebuilding the rights of statues,” formed in 2004 and has released two studio albums. They’ve toured with Depeche Mode, Xiu Xiu and Gang of Four. Though they’ve been stars on China’s underground rock scene for years they moved into the mainstream after appearing on the second season of the variety show The Big Band. 
Singapore GP Canceled
The Singapore Grand Prix has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the CNA reports. 
On June 4, the race’s promoter, Singapore GP announced the cancellation of the event, formally called the 2021 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, citing “ongoing safety and logistic concerns” caused by the COVID-19 crisis. The statement went on to say that given “the evolving and unpredictable” situation around the world, it has become more of a challenge to put on a “complex multi-faceted event” for the expected tens of thousands of people who would likely attend from both Singapore and abroad. 
The announcement came as no surprise, since tickets had not yet gone on sale for the race. However, those who bought tickets for the 2020 Grand Prix were told they could retain them and use them this year. Singapore GP now says it will contact these ticket holders directly with instructions on what to do.
Deputy chairman of Singapore GP, Colin Syn, said, “We understand that our fans were looking forward to another edition of the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix. To cancel the event for a second year is an incredibly difficult decision, but a necessary one in light of the prevailing restrictions for live events in Singapore. Ultimately, we have to be responsible, cautious and prudent as safety is our number one concern.”
The loss of this year’s race, which takes place at night along Marina Bay, was also lamented by the Singapore Tourist Board, whose director of sports, Ong Ling Lee, said he understands the decision. 
“Given the unpredictable COVID-19 situation around the world, this decision prioritizes the health and safety of all participants, fans and the public. Since 2008, the Formula 1 race has generated benefits for both Singapore and the Formula 1 franchise, with many local businesses actively involved in race preparations and operations. As the first night street race, it is one of the most iconic races on the Formula 1 calendar. We are working closely with Singapore GP, Formula 1 and other government agencies to determine the future of the race.”
RouteNote Hits Korea
The digital music distribution platform RouteNote recently announced its formal move into Asia with a new Seoul office headed by Kevin Kim, former associate director of global business at YG, one of South Korea’s biggest entertainment companies. 
Prior to working at YG, Kim gained a vast amount of experience assisting musicians in the digital realm. Also on board is Jude Kim, who has 20 years of experience in music licensing for some of South Korea’s biggest media companies, thus providing him with a wealth of connections in the country’s digital platforms, labels and government agencies. 
In a statement, RouteNote CEO Steven Finch said, “It’s great to have Kevin join the team. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about the industry and region. RouteNote plans to invest a lot into Asia and this is only the beginning. It is amazing to bring both Kevin and Jude onto the team as they both have great backgrounds of experience.”
Among the Asian digital platforms that RouteNote works with are MelOn, Bugs! and Flo in South Korea; Kanjian, NetEase and Tencent in China; AWA in Japan; and JioSaavn in India. 
Loosened Restrictions Boost Box Office
The Korea Performing Arts Box Office Information System (KOPIS) reported that combined revenues for theater plays, musicals, classical concerts and other non-standing events totaled $63.6 million for the March-May period. 
The total represents some 2,700 performances, and represents a doubling of the revenues from the same sector during the same period last year, when only 697 performances were staged. 
According to the Yonhap news agency, this sharp increase is the result of relaxed preventive guidelines that went into effect in February. Previously, theaters had to leave two empty seats between each seated patron. 
Before most productions had to be canceled since promoters, especially those who presented musicals, which are capital intensive, couldn’t make any money back with such restricted audience numbers. Under the new guidelines, patrons can sit in pairs with friends and family, but the pairs must be separated by an empty seat.