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Millions flock to TFBoys’ online live show, jazzing up a pandemic-hit entertainment industry

Tencent Music Entertainment held a slew of online performances, featuring celebrities including Rene Liu, Mayday, and Eason Chan.

<span>Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@5tep5?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Alexander Popov</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/concert?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a></span>

NetEase (NASDAQ: NTES) Cloud Music on Saturday organized the first online live show of TFBoys, the most famous mandopop boyband in China, attracting nearly 800,000 concurrent viewers at its peak. Rival Tencent Music Entertainment (NYSE: TME), the owner of QQ Music, previously already held a slew of online performances in an effort to popularize this form of concerts in the post-coronavirus era.

The online show with the title “Daylight Travel” celebrated the boyband’s seventh anniversary. TFBoys, which is formed by 20-year-old Wang Junkai, 19-year-old Wang Yuan, and 19-year-old Yi Yangqianxi, skyrocketed to fame in 2013 and has since then become a household name in China. According to NetEase, more than 1 million tickets were sold and the topic was trending on Chinese microblogging site Weibo.

“The event on every anniversary became a bond between TFBoys and its fans as we all grow up along the way,” said Jingjia Zhu, a 24-year-old high school teacher, who is also a big fan of Yi. She bought the cheapest ticket for RMB 30 (USD 4.3) and tuned in on time that Saturday. The organizer also provided an RMB 158 (USD 22.9) bundle and an RMB 860 (USD 124.5) gift bundle, that included a blind box and a one-year NetEase music app membership. Although being a fan for five years, she thinks that an RMB 860 ticket is too expensive. “I can even buy an offline ticket for this price,” she said.

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As the offline entertaining industry is still suffering from COVID-19, labels, streaming app operators, and entertainment companies, including NetEase, TME, Bilibili, Modern Sky, and Douyin, have tried online live shows. It not only keeps the singers in action, at a time when offline activities are shut down, but offers organizers also a new platform to turn into a workable and profitable business.

TME has already held 21 online concerts since March, featuring celebrities including Rene Liu, Mayday, and Eason Chan. The show featuring Taiwanese band Mayday raked in 35 million views in total.

“We actually began this project as early as in 2019 as a combination of offline and online experiences, but it became an online-focused sub-brand due to the COVID-19, which also boosted the project,” said Pan Caijun, VP of TME and head of TME Live, in July.

In his projection, online events won’t be able to replace the sense of being on-stage, but they can create new experiences beyond an offline show, for example, offering different angles and clearer views.

“I think the most important thing about a concert is the vibe, brought by interactions between performers and the audience. Online concerts reduce real-time feedback,” said Lu Zehui, a 19-year-old student and fan of Wang Yuan. Lu said that the so-called “online concert” on August 22 was in fact a pre-recorded video, which was not as good as she expected, although the scenic design was high-quality.