Asia’s big. 4 billion people, 60% of the world’s population big. And pursuant to hidebound cultural norms and rigid legal regulations by conservative governments, there is this gaping hole for capitalism and western scenes spreading like wildfire. Dance Music being one, even though it is spreading throughout Asia like the plague it is, there is a lot of ground to be covered.
Last September, 300 delegates from the Dance Music Industry sat down to discuss how to unlock the world’s largest untapped market for Dance Music.
“America had a huge explosion five years ago, and I think everyone was wondering when Asia would ‘pop,'” says Ben Turner, partner at IMS and co-founder of the Association for Electronic Music. “It really feels like that moment is now.”
According to IMS, the global Dance Music industry has boomed to $7.1 Billion, a rise of 59% from just three years ago. But now the North-American portion of the industry is cooling-off as it is already near capacity. Although, Asia is just warming things up with only a 15% contribution to the global Dance Music industry.
The revenue potential in Asia is insane, last year alone China’s recorded music market grew 63%. Ultra have has expanded to several more countries in Asia; Singapore, Japan, Indonesia & Singapore. SFX & Insomniac have also extended themselves with EDC in India & Electric Zoo to China.
“Asia is a great market, and I think it’s exciting for the fans to see quality events coming in,” says Russell Faibisch, co-founder, CEO and executive producer of Ultra. “I don’t see it slowing down. And we’re not at the end of it — we’re still going, there’s a lot more to be done for us.”
More promoters are looking to set up shop in Asia with it’s revenue potential being a bubble that is about burst.
While it is outpouring it is also difficult as there are several new challenges that the Ultras and the Electric Zoos face in Asia-Pacific. For instance China has banned social platforms like Facebook & Twitter along with streaming websites like YouTube & Souncloud which make it harder for them to reach their audience. Stringent government regulations put a wet blanket over the level of clearance needed for festivals.
“It’s one of those music genres that every single brand can say, ‘This is what the millennials like,'” says A2Live founder Eric Zho. “And it’s a very healthy scene — unlike the West, where people associate dance music with drugs, here they’re very inaccessible and the penalty is insane.”
“[Asia is] such a big proposition,” says Turner, “but it doesn’t feel like it’s really built on solid foundations yet.”
But that’s the thing about Dance Music, it’s not solid it’s in a liquid state right now especially in the largest continent of the world. It is free-flowing and soon enough the barriers will be overcome and Dance Music will come out swinging in this cathartic stage of dubiousness.
“That’s the beauty of dance music; you’re not confined by language,” Zho says. “China is on the cusp of that J curve journey. I think this [boom] is going to go over the next two to three years.”