Live & Touring

The Power Of Live Music

LivenationWilliam Paterson University Prof. David Philp looks at a report from Live Nation based on some fresh, unique research explaining how our need for community and belonging is satisfied by attending live shows.


By David Philp,  Assoc. Professor at William Paterson University from Music Biz 101 blog

I remember learning about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs back in college.  These are the things that make we, as humans, tick.  These are the needs we require in order to sustain life, and more specifically, productive, successful, happy lives.

Look at the middle tier.  It is Love/Belonging.  This is where the experience of live music, of live events, comes in.  Why do we attend concerts?  Why do we go to Broadway plays?  Why do we go to church or synagogue or our mosque?  Why do we have friends and relationships?  Because we need them.  We need this stuff in order to survive.

Live Nation has released a report (they call it a “white paper,” which is just so 20th century fancy) that explains why people attend concerts.  Sure, Live Nation is in the business of live events, specifically music events.  That doesn’t mean you should blow this off because it’s just them patting themselves on the back.  It appears that this report is based on new research, and a newer way to perform research.  Read this:

“At GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter St. Vincent’s show, live music fans participated in a biometric experiment to prove live music’s power. By testing galvanic skin response, alpha power brain waves and synchronization through accelerometers, we were able to demonstrate the impact on fans’ level of excitement, emotional intensity, attentiveness, engagement, and human connection.

“We combined biometric data with survey data to verify and correlate the link between how fans think they feel and how they actually feel.

“The groundbreaking results prove it: LIVE MUSIC GIVES US LIFE.”

Did you read that?  “LIVE MUSIC GIVES US LIFE.” 

That’s where we come back to Abe Maslow, who probably would have been a great researcher for Live Nation and would have agreed with the statement.  Knowing that ancient mankind was making music possibly 55,000 years ago, this report is even more valid.

There’s another reason why this paper is interesting.  Part II is aimed at brands.  As you read this, you should come to understand that the purpose of the paper is to sell more sponsorships, to get businesses to purchase more tickets, to help drive revenue.

There’s nothing wrong with that.  In fact, this is a different way to sell what you do.  Live Nation is about live experiences.  The reason they performed the  research that explains the need and love consumers have for live experiences was to prove to the Live Nation client, and potential Live Nation clients, that what they’re selling can be extremely effective.

If you connect your brand to the live experience, brought to you by Live Nation, your brand will have a greater chance of success than it would using finite marketing dollars on other options, like print, Facebook ads, radio, or television.

For those of you thinking how to promote yourselves or how to promote your acts/clients, this report is worth reading.  If anything, it may influence in the future how you sell whatever you need to sell.

READ: The Power Of Live


Professor David Philp is Associate Professor Music & Entertainment Industries and Popular Music Studies at William Paterson University. He is the co-host of the only FREE advice college radio-based music & entertainment industry talk show in America, Music Biz 101 & More, which airs live most Wednesday nights and is available as a podcast HERE every night (days too).  Your favorite professor is also co-author (with Dr. Steve Marcone) of Managing Your Band – 6th Edition.  Reach him at or find him on LinkedIn HERE.

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