Tencent Holdings used a trio of teen singers to draw hoards of girls, their mothers and a few bewildered dads to a concert on Wednesday night. Can it get them to buy music?
The Chinese Internet giant held a concert in Shenzhen that included TFBoys, a popular Chinese boy band whose members include a 15-year-old and two 14-year-olds. (The name stands for The Fighting Boys, though they don’t look like they get into too many scrapes.)
As soon as the boys appeared, teenage girls closer to the stage went ballistic, chanting and each holding up a banner or card with the name of their favorite boy. There were also older women who seemed to know the lyrics. A few men who were sandwiched between TFBoys fans looked awkward but stood patiently, like ships waiting for a storm to pass.
Tencent’s concert, which also featured a number of other Chinese, South Korean and Taiwanese musicians, was an exclusive event for registered users of Tencent’s online music streaming service called QQ Music. While QQ Music offers some of the songs free of charge, users who have paid for premium membership accounts had a much higher chance of winning tickets for the concert in a lucky draw, according to the company. For Tencent, whose main businesses are online games and social networks, the concert is an attempt to motivate more people to pay for entertainment.
Free music is a way of life for audiophiles in China – and much of it is legal. Tencent and rivals like search giant Baidu offer licensed content in hopes of offering premium music services along the way.
TFBoys has a corner in China on the female audience, from primary school girls to middle-aged devotees who are sometimes called mama fen – “mom fans” in English — because they could be old enough to be easily the boys’ mothers. Their success is widely attributed to a growing appetite in the country for xiao xianrou, or “fresh meat,” a reference to young, fresh-faced male entertainers.
Read more at The Wall Street Journal.