Performance market sees strong start in first quarter
Published: Apr 11, 2024 10:15 PM
Promotional materials for Chinese movie <em>YOLO</em> Photo: Courtesy of Douban

Promotional materials for Chinese movie YOLO Photo: Courtesy of Douban

China's performance market got off to a strong start in the first quarter of 2024 as the nationwide revenue from commercial performances (excluding entertainment venue performances) reached 10.8 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), a year-on-year increase of 116.87 percent, according to the China Association of Performing Arts (CAPA) on Wednesday.

From January to March, there were 119,000 commercial performances held nationwide, marking a 72.7 percent increase compared with the same period in 2023. The total audience attendance was 38.87 million, a 77.88 percent increase compared with 2023, said CAPA.

A diverse array of productions were offered by theaters during the Spring Festival holidays, a growing number of foreign artists featured in music festivals and small theater performances reportedly contributed to the surge in revenue and attendance. 

Popular stage production The Journey of a Legendary Landscape Painting, a dance drama blending traditional and contemporary elements, exceeded 60 shows in just one quarter. Touring performances effectively stimulated theater consumption in various regions, the China News Services reported Wednesday. 

An abundant supply of various shows such as dramas, traditional opera, cross talk, concerts, musicals and children's plays became popular choices during holidays among people of all ages, spurring consumption. 

This year, the star-studded lineup of international artists at music festivals has been drawing a wider audience. The Bubbling & Boiling Music and Arts Festival (BBMAF) to be held in North China's Tianjin Municipality in May features Japanese pop duo YOASOBI, Tatsuya Kitani, and rock band Never Young Beach. 

At the Cactus Music Festival slated to take place in May in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, US rock band Fall Out Boy will make their debut at a Chinese mainland music festival. In March, US singer Tinashe announced her China tour plan in five cities. The more than 2,000 tickets for the Shanghai show were snapped up in just six seconds.

"When we select artists for the music festival, we want to bring something fresh to fans and the scarcity of international artist is what whets fans' appetites," said Zhang Chongshuo, founder of BBMAF organizer Sparkle Live. 

 "This year, we will increase the overall proportion of international artists from last year's 15 percent to 35 percent," he said. 

As of March 14, the box-office revenue from music performances in 2024 reached 941 million yuan, accounting for 79.3 percent of the total box-office revenue from performances. The total attendance for music performances reached 1.9 million. according to data from box-office tracker Dengta. 

A growing number of musical performances have trickled to second- and third-tier cities thanks to the support of local culture and tourism authorities. For instance, the first leg of this year's Midi Festival will kick off on Friday in Taizhou, East China's Zhejiang Province. 

Small theater productions have made headlines with immersive experiences. From March 31 to April 16, a total of 20 dramas will be staged at nine small theaters in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province.