News of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak continues to control news headlines as the new decade begins with levels of uncertainty throughout the global health community. Officially named “COVID-19,” the virus has taken hold of the Hubei province in China and, as Mother Nature tends to do, has begun to find a way to affect people in other parts of the world.
While most nations in the Western Hemisphere monitor the outbreak from afar and prepare for any kind of drastic mass-health plans should the virus spread even further from China where it has killed up to 1,350 people thus far, the global touring and live events industry is already starting to take a hit as more artists and promoters have begun canceling plans to perform in the region.
Popular British hip-hop artist Stormzy recently announced the postponement of shows as part of an Asian leg of his 2020 world tour, which had planned to stop in cities outside of China including Singapore and Malaysia in March. The rapper’s Asian run also included scheduled performances in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra also announced last week that the acclaimed classical music organization had canceled its planned tour of Asia alongside pianist Yefim Bronfman. Multiple major K-pop acts including Taeyeon, GOT7, Winner, and NCT have also canceled their scheduled performances in China and the surrounding countries. The report shared by Rolling Stone states that it’s currently unclear at the moment as to whether Art Basel Hong Kong will still take place as scheduled for this March.
Even artists and promoters here in America are taking extra precautions against the possibility of losing money and contracting the virus. A performance from Shanghai Chinese Orchestra planned to take place in Costa Mesa, CA [just south of Los Angeles] was also canceled recently, even though there was no evidence that the musicians posed any threat to public health. It is worth noting that the Chinese orchestra has already performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. last month.
Ironically, Ticketmaster announced on Thursday that it plans on expanding its business to Asia with a new presence in Singapore and the purchase of Tixcraft in Taiwan.
In total, roughly 20,000 music shows have been canceled or postponed in China and Hong Kong since January, resulting in a loss of $286 million in the region’s music and live entertainment industry, according to a new report shared by Billboard.