Live & Touring

Top 10 Best Places To See A Rock Concert In US

image from Songkick, a live music database, has released a study that reveals the top ten US cities for seeing a rock show. The top ranking is base on the number of shows per capita in 2010. In this study, their working definition of "rock" includes everything from emo to indie. As well, they've calculated the average ticket prices in these cities. Some of the results are obvious, while others are quite surprising.

Here's a look at the top ten "most rocking" cities according to Songkick:

1. Austin, TX – 100 Rock Score; average ticket price of $23.30

2. Madison, WI – 78 Rock Score; average ticket price of $13.05

3. New Orleans, LA – 57 Rock Score; average ticket price of $16.89

4. Las Vegas, NV – 51 Rock Score; average ticket price of $62.76

5. Denver, CO – 44 Rock Score; average ticket price of $33.24

6. Milwaukee, WI– 38 Rock Score; average ticket price of $17.66

7. The Twin Cities, MN – 36 Rock Score; average ticket price of $11.36

8. Seattle, WA – 35 Rock Score; average ticket price of $11.75

9. Portland, OR – 35 Rock Score; average ticket price of $10.33

10. Nashville, TN – 34 Rock Score; average ticket price of $20.13

To determine the Rock Score, Songkick analyzed which cities have the most concerts per capita. This placed Austin at the top, giving them a score of 100.

image from (Click image to enlarge.)

All of the other cities are ranked against this score, meaning that Madision has 78% as many rock concerts per capita as Austin, New Orleans 57%, and so on.

The study also analyzed concert data from 2007-2010 for major touring acts like Ben Harper, Pearl Jam, Iron Maiden and also for smaller acts. Their analysis found that the long tail of smaller acts has had the fastest increase in tour dates per year over the past four years. In contrast, the most popular acts have had a relatively constant number of tour dates per year. “We think the uptick of smaller, long-tail bands touring in more places than ever before, is a result of a growing awareness of these bands via the Internet,” says Ian Hogarth, CEO of Songkick.

Top Data Showed:

  • In 2007 major touring act had an average of 30 gigs; in 2010 they had an average of 31 gigs.
  • In 2007 long tail of smaller acts had an average of 22 gigs; in 2010 they had an average of 38 gigs.

To get these numbers, Songkick divided artists into four groups based on their popularity. This their staff determined by the number of users who are tracking the artist and want to see them live on the site. In the study, Songkick found that All Time Low was the band with the most total tour dates from 2007 to 2010.

The rock group had 508 shows, which equals more than one every three days.

image from (Click image to enlarge.)

"We hope this opens up a discussion about how live music is contributing to artists’ revenues and whether bands can sustainably make a living by going on the road," writes Michelle You, cofounder of Songkick. "What we’re happy about as fans is that our chances of seeing The Antlers (a team Songkick favorite) is much higher now than 4 years ago." Indeed, it looks like small is the new big.

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  1. Surely smaller bands touring more is just out of necessity? That’s how they pay the bills, whereas a bigger act might have other avenues to fall back on, or, just make enough from high ticket prices at their arena/stadium gigs that they can afford to gig less (or gig the same as they did three years ago).

  2. I think you are wrong about that Dylan. It’s not that they HAVE to tour, it’s that they CAN tour now. I don’t think that those bands were making so much money from there 22 shows a year in 2007 that they didn’t care about doing more shows. Indie bands have a higher profile than ever, meaning that there are more oppertunities to play and actually draw a crowd. If these bands were really touring more purely out of need for cash, they’d have better luck staying in town and getting a fast food job…

  3. Left Indianapolis off the list? People there are so starved for ANY tour to come through that it makes them incredibly rabid audiences!

  4. huge statistical flaw by using population as the baseline for rock score. cities with smaller populations or cities with smaller latin populations inordinately skewed.
    new york and los angeles are obviously one and two with san francisco, boston and chicago rounding it out. just based on a proper baseline accounting.
    good luck explaining results above, when every single viewer knows the NY LA SF BOS CHI markets are inordinate leaders answering the question youre attempting to answer with austin madison new orleans las vegas and denver.

  5. In the article they spelled Madison wrong!! In the paragraph under the red graph They added an extra i.

  6. Unless I’m missing something Songkick has made the classic mistake of confusing quantity with quality. If the only metric used in this “study” was rock concerts per capita than the results of this study should be called “Top 10 cities with the most rock concerts per capita.” Nothing about this data suggests these cities are tops in anything else and certainly not the best as the Hypebot headline alleges. This is really a case of mislabeling and false headlines.

  7. In Wisconsin we have Summerfest in Milwaukee where you can see top touring bands (5 to 7 per night) for the $12 entrance fee. In Madison last month we had the Goo Goo Dolls and Guster and for $45 you could have seen both. Wisconsin knows how to rock.

  8. Interesting. Not sure I agree with the stats. There are also a lot of other factors that aren’t considered here – like number of original bands vs. cover bands. But if it’s correct, it’s a pretty sad comentary on Rock concerts in general – because I have always felt there could be more venues in Madison – and more support for music in general. The current culture is to support cover bands. People want to hear the stuff being played on the Radio. Original bands end up performing at Pay for play venues and most new bands don’t survive for long. We’re quickly approaching the day when we’ll be listening to the same music over and over and over.

  9. Yeah I’m in San Francisco right now, which is insane to be left off since there are definitely many more shows, but I live in Madison. Our scoring 2nd highest has got to be absolutely wrong. We do get a lot of shows, but if they’re new bands just traveling from elsewhere in the midwest to cram on a 4-5 band bill on a weeknight where it’s free admission or $5 if you want $1 PBRs, it will skew results tremendously. We used to have more shows 10 years ago before a couple clubs burnt down and bands began skipping us as a tour stop, and we really never recovered from that.

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