IMC Group Asia COO Romell Song on the entertainment scene in 2020 – “The industry was virtually at a standstill”

Wenting Ang
·Contributor
·4-min read
Alive Concert. (PHOTO: IMC Live Global)
Alive Concert. (PHOTO: IMC Live Global)

With Singapore moving into Phase 3 on 28 Dec, indoor live performances and pilot outdoor shows can now accommodate up to 250 persons. As opposed to how live performances were prohibited in the earlier times during the COVID-19 pandemic, this new phase should come as a relief for both performers and concert organisers.

To understand the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on live performances in Singapore and around Asia, Yahoo Lifestyle SEA spoke to IMC Group Asia’s Chief Operation Officer Romell Song, 44, on the future of live performances, how COVID-19 vaccine can help the situation, and what is in the pipeline for the group.

“The Singapore government was very supportive of the industry, and there are various grants and rebates for the Arts and Culture sector. The industry was virtually at a standstill last year, and the pandemic did impact it financially and on a global level,” Song explained.

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IMC Group Asia’s Chief Operation Officer Romell Song. (PHOTO: IMC Live Global)
IMC Group Asia’s Chief Operation Officer Romell Song. (PHOTO: IMC Live Global)

With lockdowns happening worldwide, along with Singapore’s ban on huge gatherings, it is no wonder that live concerts organisers had their livelihood placed on hold throughout 2020. With the pandemic slowly being under control, at least in parts of Asia, Song observed “a direct correlation between the attitude towards live events and the efficacy of pandemic control in that market.”

Allowing indoor live performances to hold up to a 250-person capacity kickstarts the live concert industry once again, with the audience keen to be watching live concerts and performers eager to be on the stage again. However, it is impossible to ignore the nagging thought at the back of everyone’s mind on how safe these performances would be, taking place during the pandemic.

Song shared that the group supports the strict safety management measures implemented by the government, and “it is evident that this is the fastest way for the live entertainment industry to get back on our feet.”

Jeremy Monteiro. (PHOTO: IMC Live Global)
Jeremy Monteiro. (PHOTO: IMC Live Global)

Vaccination is also seen as a possible key in the new normal for live concerts to take place safely, especially if it becomes widely available and administered. Believing that the “default pre-entry criteria could evolve to require some proof of vaccination”, Song shared that IMC Group Asia will continue “stay close to government policies and regulatory requirements to ensure that we are managing in line with, or even exceed, such requirements so that audiences can enjoy our events safely.”

During the pandemic, IMC Group Asia also changed how they usually organised concerts and pivoted to an online charity concert, Rock With Us. While online content is not the group’s mainstay, they recognised the change in the way people reach out for content, especially during the pandemic.

Despite so, Song reassures that their core business will “always be live entertainment because we believe it is difficult to replicate the type of unique experience, sensations and dynamics of a live event online.”

TheLionCityBoy. (PHOTO: IMC Live Global)
TheLionCityBoy. (PHOTO: IMC Live Global)

Kickstarting the return of live concerts with a star-studded, in-person series with AL!VE, IMC Group Asia will be holding six different concerts on 21 - 23 Jan, 30 Jan and 5 - 6 Feb at the Capitol Theatre. Featuring artists such as Jimmy Ye, whose show was sold out within five days; Joi Chua, Fariz Jabba, Jeremy Monteiro & Friends, and more, the series of concerts will also be Singapore’s first large-scale live concert series for 2021.

“The more notable measures we are taking include safe-distancing at the queues, zoning of people into groups of 50, ensuring no inter-mingling between zones and single-direction entry and exit. This mode of concert management is new to us, and we will use this opportunity to study how to make it more efficient and smooth so that the experience for the concert-goers will be enhanced.”

Letting on that they will still be focusing on music-related live entertainment in the near future, Song shared that the group is tracking market developments closely across Asia and the world, ready to take on markets that are recovering well and adapting to new situations.

“Our recent endeavours include organising our proprietary music festival, One Love Asia Festival, where we can bring more varied content (both artiste and lifestyle-related) under the same roof. Last year’s event, which was postponed because of the pandemic, is now slated for 16 - 17 October 2021. We are very excited about it, and there are plans to bring this music festival to the rest of Asia,” Song said.

Alive Concert. (PHOTO: IMC Live Global)
Alive Concert. (PHOTO: IMC Live Global)

More information on AL!VE:

Venue: Capitol Theatre

Dates: 21-23 January, 30 Jan, 5-6 February 2021

Concert line-up:

VOL 1 | 21 Jan | S$58: Art Fazil, Hyrul Anuar, Rahila Rashun, Jive Talkin’

VOL 2 | 22 Jan | S$88: Jeremy Monteiro & Friends

VOL 3 | 23 Jan | S$118: Joi Chua (蔡淳佳)

VOL 4 | 5 Feb | S$58: Sherman Zhuo (卓振声), Tien Chong (张天), Relyne Ban (万里莹), Wilson Huang (黄贻), Cherelle Tan (陈宣清), Marcus Lee (李俊纬)

VOL 5 | 6 Feb | S$88: Jimmy Ye (叶良俊) – SOLD OUT

VOL 6 | 30 Jan | S$58: Fariz Jabba, MHC, TheLionCityBoy

Tickets are available at: http://sistic.com.sg