Do concerts make money?

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American singer/actress Jennifer Lopez was in Manila recently.

Madonna is one global superstar who hasn’t set foot on Philippine soil to do a concert.

What’s keeping her from doing so is a question. She should take a cue from Jennifer Lopez before she hits 60 (she is 54). Will she wait when Pinoys can’t relate to her “Like A Virgin” song anymore?

In one of his tweets, basketball superstar and TV host Chris Tiu says he had a great time partying in Jennifer Lopez’s Manila concert.

“JLo,” as she is known by her millions of fans all over the world, was trending on the number one spot as her fans were randomly tweeting on the same social media, saying her concert was well worth it.

At jampacked SM Mall of Asia Arena, where Lopez set the stage on fire, fans screamed, sang, jumped and moved their bodies and feet with the Hollywood superstar nonstop.

Lopez’s hip gyrations did the talking. It was enough for large throngs of Pinoy diehards to make Nov. 26 memorable—despite the cost.

JLO’s “Dance Again World Tour” ticket prices would make one’s jaw drop, dizzying like no other concert artist had ever commanded.

Imagine: VIP-P25,840; Patron-P18,610; Lower Box A-P18,610; Patron Standing-P15,510; Lower Box B-P15,510; Lower Box C-P10,340; Upper Box-P7,760 and General Admission-P2,590.

Of late, Manila has been part of a network of major concert tours featuring superstar celebrities. This month alone, five named concert artists in the entertainment world are scheduled to perform in what could be another moneymaking shebang in the city.

Last year, American rapper Pitbull, pop rock band Train and singer-songwriter Richard Marx staged sold-out shows in the country.

Big names like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Simple Plan, Avril Lavigne, James Ingram, The Fray, Edwin Mccain, Bryan Adams, ’90s boybands like Hanson and A1 also came here, with Black Eyed Peas, David Foster and Friends joining the bandwagon, too.

Katy Perry, known for her many number one hits on Billboard Hot 100 chart (“Teenage Dream,” California Girls and “Fireworks,” among others), returned to the Philippines with a P10,000 per-person-ticket.

After Perry, at least 20 more foreign acts staged concerts in Manila from February to May, tagged as the concert season by promoters, featuring local and foreign acts. They all did it in one fashion: sold-out shows.

British-Irish boy band The Wanted made many fans scream. Maroon 5 graced the local concert scene anew. They first performed in Manila in March 2008, and then in May 2011. Filipino-Mexican Jessica Sanchez came over last in October.

The English alternative-rock band Keane played at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. James Morrison performed in Araneta Coliseum. Jason Mraz “didn’t give up and hesitated,” he came over and so did Jessie J.

Grammy-winning French DJ David Guetta made everyone go wild at the MOA Arena. Another returnee was Joe Jonas with his brothers Nick and Kevin.

The deluge of foreign concerts in Manila as well as those by bankable local talents like Sarah Geronimo, Anne Curtis, yes, the actress, Bamboo, Rico Blanco, Lani Misalucha, Regine Velasquez, Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera and many more are just proving one thing. They’re raking in the money.

“Foreign concert artists are making money otherwise they wouldn’t even think of coming here,” remarks a journalist. “We are greats—for things foreign, what’s more original. We even gobble up The Platters, Petula Clark, The Beach Boys and The Monkeys,” she says.

UP men’s varsity volleyball player Luis Apostol, an avid concertgoer and party animal, says: “I am willing to shell out cash depending on who is performing.”

Aspiring actor, ramp model and member of “Pilyo” boyband Julius Anthony Sioson, shares his views:

“It’s worth it because of the quality of their stage production and their mind-blowing performances. We should be proud that they chose to perform in Manila rather than elsewhere. It’s great to watch world-class acts because they inspire and push us to reach that level.”

Ateneo student Kevin Chu explains, “Some concerts are too pricey. Producers should make more money on sponsors than on people who simply want to hear their favorite singers.”

“High costs of tickets reflect the inability of promoters to generate sponsorship to subsidize production expenses,” says out-of-home and digital advertising specialist Bing Kimpo.

“In my opinion, what makes the rates worth it is the fact that, we the fans, are literally in the presence of the artists we look up to. The sheer electricity in the air makes the price and experience worthwhile. Look at it as being legally “high,” reasons out young real estate account executive Felix Acuna.

Acuna’s nephew, digital art student Iñigo, has a different take. He says, “Music is universal. Because of high prices, it makes them exclusive to the privileged few. So how does it become universal then?” he argues.

EJ Francisco of Globe Telecom shares his point of view: “While it is exciting to have foreign artists perform in the country, I think it’s high time to have more local concerts headlined by our very own performers, who are as equally good and entertaining as the foreign acts. That way, we know that our investment is worthwhile. Let’s support Original Pilipino Music, we have such talented and world-class performers in the country.”

Which makes us remember Kuh Ledesma, who, years ago, initiated moves of regulating the number of foreign artists doing concerts in Manila.

Julius Anthony Sioson, (left), says arrival of foreign artists is “worth it because of the quality of their stage production and their mind-blowing performances.’’

Ledesma says our lawmakers should protect local acts. What happened?

Judging from the influx of foreign concerts that alternately perform in Manila and Cebu, it may have fizzled out.

Are foreign performers to be blamed?

On ‘Examiner,’ an arts and entertainment site, blogger Oliver Suarez writes that foreign artists should not be blamed as Filipinos sing foreign songs anyway.

“I mean just watch most of the variety shows in the Philippines such as ASAP or Party Pilipinas and it seems like 95 percent of the songs they perform are by foreign artists,” he says.

Suarez adds:  “When the original performers of those songs arrive in Manila, many Filipinos will come in droves to watch them perform.”

In summary, watching a foreign concert does not make one anti-OPM or anti-Filipino. Pinoys are constantly looking for quality as they always do in detergent bars, cars, jeans, or services.

No doubt also that Filipinos are one of the most talented people in the world when it comes to music—but it should thrive against competition. “Competition brings out the best in everyone,” one blogger exclaims.

Filipinos would pay premium for talent and quality. The same is true with fine choreography, stage design and sound engineering when watching a concert. Concert artists, local and foreign, can make money no doubt, if they can wow the audience.

Palmagick CEO Gil de Palma, adds, “Foreign celebrity concerts are a branding game. People usually buy celebrity status first, nationality second, band, music, third and price last. If celebrity branding can stimulate positive response, the concert would sell. Is it worth it? Only if it can “wow” the audience,” he says.

The following foreign artists are scheduled to perform in Manila:

January 2013—Swedish House Mafia (Jan. 16); Dream Kpop Fantasy (Jan. 19); The Ataris (Jan. 19) Paramore (Feb. 15); Pierce The Veil/Sleeping With Sirens (Feb. 16); Bring Me The Horizons (March 6); Smash Project 2013 (March 8) and The Script (March 31).

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  • http://twitter.com/pinoyathletics pinoyathletics.com

    Alas it will be a long time before the Philippines catches up with music tastes. Barry Manilow and various lesser known american bands from a bygone era are still popular in the Philippines.

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