With the global touring business in shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, Modern Sky UK boss Dave Pichilingi has given an insight into the Chinese music market's "innovative" response to the crisis.
Thousands of gigs have been cancelled in China, where the virus originated in late 2019, with artists such as Stormzy, Khalid, New Order, BTS, Green Day, Slipknot and Avril Lavigne all pulling Asian tour dates.
To help fill the void, the country's biggest festival promoter Modern Sky, which was founded in 1997 by LiHui Shen, has kept housebound fans entertained by streaming past events for free on a video sharing website. Quarantined artists have also posted videos of themselves performing in unusual places.
I would look at ways you can entertain your audiences without having to put them in a field
Modern Sky UK
"They found lateral ways and innovative ways to cope with it," said Pichilingi (pictured), who runs the company's UK and North American divisions. "Modern Sky in China has over 150 artists signed to the label and those artists, like everyone else in China, are confined to their apartments. We've been generating content of them performing in the bath with their masks on, on their balconies and so on just trying to keep people lighthearted.
"We’ve also been doing that with some of our artists, for example, a young band called The Lathums that we manage here in the UK, Spin, Red Rum Club and Jamie Webster.
"If I were to offer any advice to colleagues and peers and people doing festivals in the west, I would look at ways that you can entertain your audiences without having to put them in a field, because that might have to happen."
However, Pichilingi, founder of Liverpool's Sound City festival and conference, warned the pandemic has had grave ramifications for some of China's smaller music promoters.
"We speak daily with our colleagues in China about what's going on and the live side of the business has taken a big hit," he said. "A lot of businesses have gone bust because of it."