Conventions & Awards

Billboard Live Music Summit 2019: 4 Big Takeaways

Last week’s Billboard Live Music Summit was designed to provide an overview of the modern concert touring business. But unlike its conference peers, Billboard Live didn’t just showcase the industry’s biggest players but included its brightest upstarts and future leaders.

A common complaint at most music industry conferences is that they only showcase the 1%.  As impressive as the Rolling Stones and Taylor Swift selling out stadiums is, what does it mean to the average agent at WME,  much less a developing artist trying to build a career on the road?

The Billboard Live Music Summit was not intended to be Touring 101, but it did do an impressive job of showcasing the next generation of the industry leaders alongside some current innovators.  

Four takeaways:

Meet The New Boss, They’re Not The Same As The Old Boss

The next generation of music industry leaders is ready now. Panel after panel were filled with smart and forward-thinking young professionals who already have a seat at the table. Fortunately for the future of music, they were also more diverse in gender and ethnicity than at any other general music industry conference I’ve attended. 

Data Matters

From Bandsintown’s Fabrice Sergent (pictured above) to Paradigm agent Lee Anderson, speaker after speaker beat the data drum. 

“Lee is a true data wizard,” said Marty Diamond, Paradigm’s Global Head of Music during his keynote. And while insisting that he still goes with his gut, Anderson admitted to spending “hours pouring over data before I make a major decision.”

Sergent added to the music industry data set during his keynote interview with Dave Brooks, Billboard’s senior director of touring and live and Eric Frankenberg, Billboard Box Office Chart editor by unveiling four Billboard + Bandsintown Live Music charts. The concert discovery and marketing platform also just launched 24 US, global and city charts, all of which draw on Bandsintown data to measure live music fan activity. “For the first time, artists, agents, promoters and record labels of all sizes have access to predictive touring data,” said Sergent, “not just ticket sales reported weeks after the show is over.”

Artists Are Getting Signed And Hitting The Road Faster Than Ever

A consequence of all of this data is that artists are getting discovered and signed to agencies and labels faster than ever before.  But, as several panelists pointed out, a “few million streams do not always translate into even a few hundred tickets.” 

Combining data from touring, streaming, social media and other sources to really know when an artist is ready and then using data to build a sustainable career is still more gut than science.

Billboard Is Committed To Live Music 

Combine the ascension of writers and editors like Brooks and Frankenberg with new initiatives like the Billboard + Bandsintown charts and you see a publication unwilling to secede the coverage of the live music sector to anyone.

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