SHOW CANCELLATION CONSEQUENCES: NOT JUST THE AUDIENCE’S ANGER OR REGRET

23/10/2017

Show cancellation is an integral part of showbiz, in Vietnam and the world. Behind the audience’s regret or anger of not seeing their favorist singers, there are worse consequences: financial and intangible losses. It is not the audience but the prestige of a showbiz with many local entetainment producers inside who takes the biggest damage.

Ariana Grande’s show cancellation leaves Vietnamese audience with regret

Vietnamese audience is quite familiar with show cancellation, especially the local ones. The causes mainly come from the organizer, artists, bad weather or slumped ticket sales. Vietnamese shows are cancelled quite often, but most of them do not make the audience angry or lose faith that could have a bad influence to the music industry. Domestic showbiz still constantly introduces new artists and music products.

Just since the arrival of international entertainment with world star singers, bringing the voyeuristic music parties, Vietnamese audience starts to have the real shocking feeling when a show is cancelled. They are shocked because their thirst and expectation of watching their idols in real life are so huge.

So far, there have been several international show cancellations that broke Vietnamese fans’ hearts: Lee Min Ho’s show in 2013, Psy’s in 2015, Jessica’s fan meeting by the end of 2016. In early 2017, Bad Boys Blue & Sandra’s show cancellation due to an unlucky car accident made millions of Vietnamese fans regret.

But the biggest shock ever is from the cancellation of Ariana Grande’s show, not only because she is one of the currently biggest international stars coming to Vietnam, but also the cancellation decision was made only 5 hours before the show time.

With such international-lever shocks, it seems that the audience suffers the most. However, it is not that simple. Along with the audience’s loss go many other damages: money, prestige and, most terrible, the belief for the international show market in Vietnam.

Huge risk machine

Not simple as a domestic show, an international one is actually a huge machine with the participation of so many factors and with the risk of failure hovering above the manufacturer’s head.

To make it simple, there are three parties: the seller, the buyer and the enjoyer. The seller is the artists and the multi-layer artist management system abroad, the buyer is the local organizer and the enjoyer is the audience.

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First task is contacting international artist to arrange the schedule, negotiating the fees and other terms & conditions. This is for a reputable, well-connected and fortunate producer. The others have to contact through “storks” with multiplied costs.

If an artist has a tour schedule and receives a reasonable offer, artist’s manager will take into account the credibility of the producer, its capacity and experience, PR and marketing ability, ticket sales, and finally the ability to meet the technical conditions. At this first stage, the local producer has to pay quite a lot since it has to pay 100% of the performance fee and other expenses for the artist side before the show, not like domestic show where the fee can be paid after show.

Then, the producer must meet the technical requirement, insurance, logistics, communication, design, copyright, advertising, marketing, which in many cases the sum is several times higher than the performance fee. Many shows in the world are cancelled just because they do not meet one of that many details. Moreover, many artists also want to control the ticket price to secure their prestige. Many producers have to share revenue commission to artist beside the performance fee.

It is organizational risk. The weather risks and the force majeure are also factors that stoke many shows canceled.

Finally, even if the manufacturer meets all of these conditions and the weather is fully supported, there is still one more risk. Many shows world stars are canceled because of artists sickness: The Asia tour cancellation of Celine Dion in 2013, Taylor Swift’s Atlanta show in 2011. In June 2017, Adele announced the cancellation of the last two shows on the UK tour due to her sore throat. These are justified cases. However, some singers cancel their shows just because they do not happy with minor things during the show preparation, regardless of the consequences might happen to the parties.

The consequences of show cancellation

Not to mention which side is right or wrong, the consequences of a show cancellation are huge.

Artists rarely suffer the consequences since they have received the performance fee. A loss the artist may have is the revenue commission from selling tickets.

When a show is cancelled, it is the producer (buyer) who suffer the most, followed by the audience (the enjoyer). And if it is an international show taking place in Vietnam, it affected the reputation of Vietnam entetainment industry in the eyes of international artists and their managers.

First thing is financial loss. Producers still have to pay for the cost of renting the venue, setup the stage, equipments for the show, and all other production costs. The loss is even bigger if the show is cancelled right before show time since by that time all expenses have been made, including advertising & marketing ones.

If the producer is financial independent, then it is considered a business risk. Even if the expenses come from borrowing, it is only considered financial risk to the producer. But if the source of investment comes from sponsors, the consequences will be unpredictable. The losses are double. In addition to negotiating to share the losses with each other, the bad impact on credibility and the brand is obvious.

The second is the reputation of the manufacturer. Shows that are cancelled for unclear reasons will affect the reputation of the manufacturer. Managers of international star have a wide connections network to share information. A show cancellation will negatively affect the producer’s artists ordering and negotiating procedure in following shows.

Just the case of Bad Boys Blue, got car accident a just week before show and is forced to cancel the show in Vietnam, earlier this year is different. IB Group, the producer, has received a lot of sympathy from the public after hearing the bad news just a week before show, although suffered considerable damage. After recovering, the artist is ready to return to Vietnam in the future.

Next is the public feeling. Vietnam is still in the penultimate stage of the international entertainment market in the region. Potential audience for international music shows in Vietnam is both many and less. Many people are thirsty for intenational show because of lacking opportunities but not everyone can afford the tickets.

Vietnamese audience needs a new habit of enjoying international entetainment instead of just VBiz or KPOP. Such show cancellation impacts the audience’s psychology, making this habit more difficult.

Final is the impact on the image of Vietnam on the map of American entertainment destination. Every year, hundreds of big shows take place in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, China but Vietnam. The producers want to organize but can not make it happenfor a variety of reasons (including financial factors). Typically, in June we lost the opportunity to watch Britney Spear show for the first time in Vietnam. Show cancellation will make Vietnam a less attractive tour destination. It is a disadvantage for Vietnamese producers and audience because if Vietnam is selected for the tour, artist requirements will be less severe.

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Inviting Ariana Grande to come to Vietnam is a great effort and success of the producer but the outcome can not be worse. Producing a music show is risky, and producing an international one is even riskier. A professional producer understands that a perfect event is an event that never occurs.

Even so, Vietnamese producers will not be discouraged, considering that the new international music entertainment market is taking shape. Surely, Vietnam will continue to welcome new faces and the audience will continue to satisfy their thirst. We just need to be bigger in power and dealing experience in the game of this giant machine.

According to Phan Le Khoi – IB Group Vice President of Vietnam