Backstreet boys

The Backstreet Boys will broadcast a live show on WeChat in China

The Backstreet Boys live. Photo credit: Justin Segura

The Backstreet Boys have officially teamed up with Tencent-owned social media app WeChat “to give fans in China the performance of a lifetime.”

The Backstreet Boys, who hit the road as part of their DNA World Tour about three weeks ago, recently unveiled the WeChat partnership. Sponsored by Lincoln – said sponsorship details have not been publicly disclosed – the ‘free’ virtual concert at the center of the deal is ‘expected to attract 40 million viewers’, according to the official announcement message. event organizers.

The figure reflects an improvement of around 13 million viewers from the last live international concert hosted by the controversial WeChat, a show from “iconic Irish boy band, Westlife”. Of course, those who make up 24-year-old Westlife are hardly “boys” despite their group’s historic rankings, and similarly, the five members of the Backstreet Boys have an average age of over 46.

But the veteran nature of the ongoing acts — including their exposure to fans in China over the past two decades — appears to be a key part of the strategy behind the shows, which a company called East Goes Global is executive producing.

In an effort to “bridge the gap between China and the rest of the world,” East Goes Global has worked with artists including The Chainsmokers, Jessie J, John Legend and Troye Sivan, according to its website. The same source says Australian Sivan has amassed more Douyin subscribers (three million) than his international counterpart, TikTok (1.7 million), with 4.3 million NetEase Cloud Music subscribers to his credit, 3 .6 million subscribers on QQ Music and 1.6 million. followers on Weibo.

Returning to the decision to bring in the Backstreet Boys to perform the WeChat live concert, the teams involved pointed to Westlife’s aforementioned performance: “As one of the first Western bands to develop a substantial presence among Chinese fans in the late 90s, the 2021 event was a testament to the band’s continued popularity in China.

“Offering a virtual concert is one thing. Delivering a hard-hitting highlight between cultures is another. To say I am thrilled to see this event and this partnership come together would be an understatement. I can’t wait for the world to witness history,” East Goes Global Founder and CEO Andrew Spalter said of the Backstreet Boys WeChat concert, which is set to take place tomorrow morning.

More broadly, the development comes as many players in the music industry – including major labels – step up their operations in China’s rapidly growing music market.

Over the past month or so, for example, Sony Music has rolled out RCA Records in mainland China, while Live Nation has finalized a licensing deal between its Fabled Records (a label that intends to “break music content influenced by China in the World”) and Universal Music Group.