Unable to contain my excitement for the upcoming EPIK HIGH 2015 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR next month, I reached out to the local concert promoter with a little Q&A, about what it takes to bring live K-pop and K-hip hop shows to the U.S.
Okay! Here’s our Q&A with NYC promoter and Asian Music Festival (AMF) founders, SIVA GROUP.
New York fans may recall that AMF/SIVA Group hosted a few other Korean hip hop events last year: AMF: Korean Hip Hop Series Vol 1 featuring Bumkey and Verbal Jint, the 11:11 concert ft. illionaire, Dok2, the Quiett, Beenzino, and the NYCs stops of the AOMG 2014 United States Tour and Beenzino Up All Night Album Release Party.
Can you give us some background information on the relationship between Asian Music Festival and marketing/consulting company SIVA GROUP? How did AMF get it’s start? Number of staff?
SIVA GROUP is an events and concert production/promotion company; AMF is one of our events. AMF started as a vision to create local music events or festivals focused on Asian music. Our staff for AMF changes on a project-to-project basis. This upcoming AMF featuring AOMG currently has 15 staff on board for pre-production. We are currently in the process of adding more production assistants for the day of the show itself.
A handful of other music promoters are bringing South Korean pop artists to the States (Powerhouse Live, Jazzy Group, Limelight Music Group/Music Enkor), though they primarily focus on idol groups. It seems that AMF has chosen to focus on hip hop — was this a conscious decision and what inspired it?
Though AMF has worked predominantly with hip hop artists thus far, it certainly is not our intended focus. It just so happens to be that the opportunities we have come across have been with hip hop artists. We intend to eventually expand AMF beyond hip hop to include pop, rock, EDM, and other genres, as to not pigeonhole or limit ourselves to only hip hop.
To date you have focused on South Korean hip hop artists, though you operate under the broader name “Asian Music Festival.” Does this mean you have plans to expand into other Asian countries or music genres?
Yes, we intend to expand to include Korean pop, Japanese rock, Japanese pop, Mandopop, and more.
AMF has hosted a number of shows last year. Do you have a 100% love-call success rate, or have there been any groups that turned you down? You don’t have to name names! 😉 Is there a dream group or artist you’d love to work with?
To date, there have only been 3 AMF events, and all were incredibly successful. As for a dream artist, every artist SIVA GROUP has ever worked with has been a dream artist for us. After all, these artists are helping us realize our dream of bringing the best in Asian music to America.
The NYC illionaire concert experienced a setback and had to be rescheduled. What are the challenges of bringing foreign artists to perform in the States? The biggest logistical concerns?
Logistics can be a nightmare when dealing with foreign artists due to any number of reasons—visa complications, cultural differences, and timely communication are just some of the issues that might arise when attempting to import artists. In the case of the Illionaire concert which was rescheduled, the visa complication actually occurred due to the State Department’s global database crashing. This resulted in a glitch worldwide for visa processing, which lasted for over a month. You can read more about that here. Even though we had submitted all necessary visa documents and paperwork to a reputable visa attorney, there was nothing we could have done to prevent this.
VIP privileges – are you modeling those on Korean concert practices and how do you negotiate those with artist management? How are ticket sales for the VIP tickets? And are you able to measure fan satisfaction?
VIP privileges for AMF are actually modeled on American concert practices, as we are dealing with American audiences. We typically pre-negotiate a thirty minute Meet & Greet photo session to be included as part of the artist’s performance responsibilities, prior to signing contracts. Ticket sales for AOMG VIP tickets were pretty solid; we completely sold out of VIP for Illionaire’s concert, and were blown away by the response. In the future, we might incorporate Korean VIP practices such as “Hi-Touch”, but largely, we’ll be sticking to American business models for concert experiences.
In terms of measuring fan satisfaction, we largely measure social media for feedback. We received some mixed reviews regarding previous AMFs, and have taken fan feedback to heart in terms of how we intend to run [future shows]. …Essentially, we are focusing as much as we can on improving overall experience, and also providing our special VIPs and VVIPs with exceptional experiences that they’ll hopefully be talking about for the weeks and months to come.
How have the artists and their management companies felt about the performances and audience response?
You’ll have to ask them this question! Illionaire were pretty blown away by the amazing audience response, though.
Do you have any stats on ticket sales and/or audience demographics you would be willing to share? SIVA GROUP specializes in marketing and demographics research – have your audiences surprised you in any way?
We sold out the Illionaire show, and hope we will sell out [other shows] as well. In terms of audience demographics, largely we’re dealing with Millennials, between the ages of 17 and 36. Most of our fans tend to be in their early twenties, though, which more or less fit our demographic research perfectly.
What are your aspirations for the company? And is there anything you’d like to say to your concert goers?
We intend to continue growing SIVA GROUP and Asian Music Festival, and hope to continue bringing the best in Asian music to the United States. Thank you so much for supporting SIVA GROUP and Asian Music Festival.
Massive thanks to Krystal Yang at SIVA GROUP for giving us an inside look at the workings of Asian Music Festival! Get your social on with AMF on facebook and twitter. And don’t forget to get your tickets to the EPIK HIGH 2015 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR!