China’s STORM Festival announces expansion into overseas markets
Dance music culture across Asia has historically drawn on Western influences, with the number of international festivals, such as Ultra, taking aim at the enormous pan-Asian consumer market. With each passing year, these spectacle-themed events continually increase in size, shape, and scale. However, business as usual may be facing endemic change, with China’s leading festival production company, A2LiVE, the organizers behind Budweiser STORM Music Festival, taking the reigns. STORM has led commercial EDM festival growth in China up to this point, and shows no signs of slowing, with its 2016 Shanghai event clocking in at 30,000 people in attendance.
Yesterday, May 11th, Budweiser STORM Music Festival held a press conference in Shanghai, wherein Eric Zho, founder and CEO of A2LiVE, announced Storm’s 2017 return to it’s already existing key markets, plus some monumental global expansion plans. The festival tour will hit 9 major Chinese cities, including mega-cities Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Guagnzhou, up from 5 last year, and will now include an international live-broadcast stream.
In addition, the company will make it’s first foray outside of China’s mainland into Taiwan and Australia. The rapid expansion marks a major milestone for the pan-Asian electronic music industry, as well as for A2LiVE, whose leading the charge, insofar as it ventures to make China a major player in the global dance music industry. Beyond extending the STORM festival brand, A2LiVE’s market expansion puts China’s blend of international dance music stars into the global musical limelight, with potential market impacts on EDM’s roughly $7 billion-a-year industry — which, up to this point, has been largely dominated by Western tastemakers. China will no longer be taking cues from abroad it seems, but will also play a crucial role in innovating and shaping global dance music trends.
Finally, A2LiVE has announced its unveiling of Storm Records, a new record label formed in partnership with Amsterdam-based imprint Spinnin’ Records. In addition to Zho’s previous IMS partnership, announced in late 2015, A2LiVE will now collaborate with one of the world’s largest independent dance music labels to blend Eastern and Western sounds, as well as fusing their networks of music producers across China and Europe into the global marketplace. This could have key implications for the U.S.-based dance music scene as well, especially considering how European market efforts — led by ID&T (formerly SFX-branded) festivals — have failed to make their lasting mark in the U.S. with short-lived festivals like TomorrowWorld and MysteryLand. The path toward conquering the global EDM marketplace has been all but unwritten, and China seems to be looking for a piece of the pie.
Featured Image via Budweiser and STORM festival.