Asia News: Masaru Ezaki, Seoul International Music Festival, Ticket Scalpers

AP Photo
– AKB48
The Wharehouse @ Scape, Singapore


Producer Masaru Ezaki Dies
One of Japan’s most successful music producers, Masaru Ezaki, died on August 31, reportedly from COVID-19. Local media said that Ezaki was in his 50s and that he had not been vaccinated. According to the hip-hop group that Ezaki was recording at the time he fell sick, the producer had tested positive of the coronavirus on August 21 after a member of the hip-hop group also tested positive. Suffering only mild symptoms, Ezaki decided to “recover at home,” according to the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, under the observation of a public health center. However, his condition turned worse quickly and he reportedly died at home. 
Among the many artists Ezaki produced were superstar actor Yuji Oda and Japan’s most successful female idol collective AKB48.

South Korea
Seoul Festival Now ‘Amusement Park’
The organizers of the Seoul International Music Festival, which celebrates South Korean classical musicians, will take place this October under the title “Amusement Park,” according to the Korea Herald. Performances will be staged at various venues across the South Korean capital from October 23 to 30. 
Live classical music performances have had an easier time returning to normal conditions after the COVID pandemic than have pop music concerts in Korea, though there are still certain restrictions in place. Most of the concerts that comprise the Seoul International Music Festival will involve local musicians premiering original compositions by local composers. According to the Korea Herald, many of the compositions were inspired by the pandemic in that they were purposely written for smaller ensembles. 
In related news, the 5th Seoul Forest Jazz Festival will also take place in October as a fully live event after being held as a hybrid event last year. Nevertheless this year’s festival will still limit the number of persons admitted. The festival takes place outdoors in a park called Seoul Forest and features both local jazz artists and some pop artists. 
The Dark Side Of Ticketing
According to the Global Times, some Chinese ticketing companies are involved in the “dark trade” of selling blocks of tickets to popular events to scalpers. In fact, some agencies only sell a minimum of tickets under conventional means to the public, saving the bulk for scalpers, to whom they sell them at inflated prices with the knowledge that there is great demand. Most of the scalped tickets are sold through online platforms. 
China’s Public Security Administration Penalty Law mandates jail times of 10-15 days and a hefty monetary penalty for anyone who “forges, alters or resells…performance tickets, sports competition tickets or other commercial tickets or vouchers.” As one example of the law being put into effect, the Global Times reports that in August, four people suspected of selling “internal test tickets” to the new Universal Studios Beijing were detained by police for selling the tickets at up to ten times the face price of such tickets. The test tickets allowed selected people to visit the theme park even before its official public opening on September 20. According to the Shine news site, all tickets for the opening day of the park sold out within one minute of being made available at midnight on September 14. In addition, tickets for the first three days of operations, which coincide with a Chinese national holiday, sold out in 30 minutes. All rooms for these days at the Universal Studios Grand Hotel were fully reserved within 30 minutes of going online. 
China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism has issued a domestic industry standard for event tickets, which aims to unify standardized services throughout the industry for purchasing, verifying and refunding tickets.