Live & Touring

Up to 40% of ticket buyers are no-shows in latest threat to the return of live music

Up to 40% of fans are not attending the shows they’ve bought tickets over concerns caused by rising COVID infections and the new more contagious variant.

The problem may be most severe in the UK. But multiple US based managers and venues tell Hypebot that 20% no-shows are common, and the number appears to be growing.

“It was around 5% normally, but you’re getting as much as 40% no-shows for some gigs now. It’s an enormous problem, and it’s happening for anything that’s ticketed,” UK artist manager Graeme Stewart told The Guardian.

Others are concerned that fans won’t buy tickets to begin with.

“There was a rush of excitement when live shows started up again. But if fans that bought tickets are not showing up, it only follows that other worried fans will never buy ticket in the first place,” one U.S. booking agent told Hypebot. “I’m not sure how much more of this some artists and venues can take.”

Phil Hutcheon, the Founder & CEO of ticketer DICE paints a somewhat rosier picture.

“We’re seeing a huge demand for tickets across all regions as fans continue to make up for lost time,” Hutcheon told Hypebot. “We have seen that people are returning tickets to our Waiting List for a refund more frequently than pre-pandemic but that’s understandable. When a show is moved, the person who bought the ticket may be less engaged about attending. However those tickets are quickly snapped up by fans on our Waiting List which keeps attendances high.”

Bruce Houghton is Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and serves as a Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is the Founder and President of the Skyline Artists Agency and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.

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