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A Chinese Pop Group Broke BTS’s Record for the Largest Paid Virtual Concert Ever

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Back in June, as Covid-19 lockdowns came into force around the world, Kpop heroes BTS held “Bang Bang Con: The Live,” a special livestreamed concert to celebrate their seventh anniversary. An incredible 756,000 viewers were watching concurrently at the show’s peak, a number that saw the group break yet another world record — for the largest paid virtual concert of all time. But less well known is that that record was broken just a few weeks later.

Chinese boyband TFBoys surpassed BTS’s numbers by pulling in more than 786,000 fans on NetEase Cloud Music, snatching the Guinness World Record for “the most live viewers for a pay per view music concert on a bespoke platform.”

The fresh-faced Mandopop group’s Chuquwan (“Let’s go out and play”) concert took place on August 22, but the news about the record has only recently come to light as part of NetEase’s end of year reporting.

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The TFBoys concert was also held to mark their seventh anniversary, with the group having established themselves as one of the biggest Mandarin-language pop acts in the world since forming in 2013. The three members — Karry Wang, Jackson Yee and Roy Wang — have looked to build their individual careers in recent years, but still reunite on occasion for TFBoys promotions.

BTS’s show helped put major artist livestreams on the map globally amid the spread of coronavirus and the need for social distancing. In China, TFBoys’ concert came after a wave of community-driven shows and more commercial music festivals had gotten audiences used to taking in live music online.

While some of these ventures have persevered, China has also seen in-person live music events largely return to normal in the last six months, while companies such as Modern Sky have held dozens of music festivals across the country in the latter half of 2020 as cities have mostly eased restrictions on mass gatherings.

Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for publications such as South China Morning Post and the Financial Times.