Asia News: Live Nation Cancels Scalped Bruno Mars Tix; K-pop Price Fatigue; MLB Coming To Seoul; India: AR Rhaman’s Curfew

San Diego Padres v Chicago Cubs
HOMEWARD BOUND: San Diego Padre and Korea native Kim Ha-seong rounds the bases during an April 27 game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)



Live Nation Cancels Scalped Bruno Mars Tix

Tickets for Bruno Mars’s June 17-18 concerts in Seoul were being scalped for as much as six times their face value. As a result, the concerts’ organizer, Live Nation, announced on social media that it was cancelling 60 tickets that had been “dealt illegally,” South Korea’s JoongAng Daily reported on May 4.

The concerts, which are being sponsored by Hyundai and will take place at the Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium, will be Mars’s first in Korea in nine years, and reportedly 130,000 people battled online for tickets when they went on sale the week before. Prices ranged from 77,000 won ($58) to 250,000 won.

Preferred seats were going for double their price on secondary markets, but a survey of one ticketing resale site revealed at least two “ground floor tickets” going for 3 million won, or six times their face value, despite the fact that the organizers of the concerts had banned ticket sales on “unauthorized sites.”

Consequently, Live Nation became involved and identified 60 tickets being sold illegally online and cancelled them without notice. Live Nation says it will continue to monitor sites for unauthorized sales.

The Asia leg of Mars’ “24K Magic Tour” will also visit Japan, Taiwan, China, Macau, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong before hitting Korea.

K-pop Ticket Price Fatigue?

Though K-pop concerts continue to break records in Asia, fans are starting to complain about the high ticket prices.

According to Thai news outlet MGR Online, the average price of a K-pop concert ticket in Thailand in 2023 so far has been 5,270 baht ($155), an 18% increase over the average price in 2019 and a 59%  increase over what it was 10 years ago. For top K-pop acts, the price has been out of the range of most  fans. VIP tickets for Blackpink’s May 27-28 concerts at Rajamangala Stadium are going for 14,800 baht.

MGR reports that last October, the Thai fan club of the K-pop act Stray Kids submitted a petition to the Consumer Protection Board of Thailand to complain about ticket prices, which were as high as 8,500 baht for a Stray Kids concert in Bangkok announced for February.

One of the reasons for the high prices is that, in the past, sponsors often covered up to 70% of the cost of a concert, whereas now the portion is only about 30%.

However, even in South Korea, fans are upset about the surge in ticket prices for K-pop shows. The Korea Times has reported that VIP tickets for “most K-pop concerts” in Seoul cost 200,000 won ($151), which is too high for many dedicated fans.

The newspaper cites the COVID pandemic as the main culprit. Since concerts could not be staged for more than two years, the related artists and entertainment companies went into debt if they remained active at all.

In order to make that money back and provide guarantees for stage crews and other technical staff, agencies and promoters are charging considerably more than they did in the past in order to put on shows with no loss in quality.

And, as one fan told the Korea Times, “Ticket prices will continue to go up because fans are buying them anyway.” So even though many fans are complaining, there are still enough of them who are willing to pay whatever they have to in order to see their idols.

MLB’s Dodgers, Padres Coming To Seoul

The 2024 opening two-game series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball’s National League will take place in South Korea.

It will be the first time an official Major League Baseball game is played in Korea, and the ninth time since 1999 that MLB has begun a season outside of the U.S. or Canada.

However, it will not be the first time an MLB game has been played in Asia. They’ve hosted games in Tokyo five times: in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2019.

One of the reasons for the decision to play in Seoul is that the Padres’ roster contains one South Korean player, infielder Kim Ha-seong, who played in South Korea’s professional league for seven seasons before moving to San Diego in 2021.


AR Rahman’s Broken Curfew

Indian movie music maestro AR Rahman’s May 1 concert in the Indian city of Pune was abruptly stopped by police when it crossed the 10 pm curfew line, even though Rahman was in the middle of a song at the time, according to local media reports.

Police reportedly mounted the stage and halted the show. Videos show officers going up to Rahman and asking him to stop the performance. Apparently, loud music is banned in the city in open spaces after 10 pm.

One of the organizers of the concert later told a news agency that it was not their intention to “breach the law” and that had the police asked them beforehand they would have not played past the curfew.

The police commented that they do not intend to cite or otherwise punish anyone involved. Rahman himself went on social media and thanked the people of Pune for “a roller coaster concert” but said nothing about the sudden ending. However, an aide to the Oscar-winning musician told reporters that he was disappointed and wished that the police had informed the organizers clearly beforehand about the curfew.

Apparently, the fact that police went on stage and confronted Rahman directly to stop the concert was the main point of contention for most of the fans.

“While the rule of the 10 p.m. cutoff is understood,” said one on social media, “this is not how a visiting artist of [Rahman’s] stature should have been treated. He was almost on his final song when this happened.” However, another fan defended the police, saying that the concert had started later than scheduled.