Live & Touring

Live Nation & Goldman Sachs are bullish on live music. Others are concerned.

Two reports paint a very positive picture of the live music in 2024 and beyond. But the new Goldman Sachs ‘Music In The Air’ study and the most recent Live Nation report to investors only address the top of the market.

The numbers are impressive.

Goldman Sachs predicts 6.5% growth

According to the Goldman Sachs “Music In The Air” report, “the live music industry continued its strong rebound in 2023 with estimated revenues of $33.1 billion in 2023 versus $26.5 billion in 2022) based on the trends reported by various industry players such as Live Nation and CTS Eventim.”

“the resilience of concert spending amidst elevated inflation”

“In 2023, we estimate that the (live music) industry grew 25%…” the report continues. “This is driven in our view by a strong schedule that featured many artists who had not toured since pre-COVID, in particular Taylor Swift and Beyonce, driving both attendances (owing to larger venues) and pricing power (due to perceived scarcity of these artists in the short term).”

“This also once again demonstrates the resilience of concert spending amidst elevated inflation and pressure on consumer spending and the growing structural demand for experiences, particularly amongst Gen Z and Millennials. Looking forward, we expect live music to remain an attractive market with a solid growth outlook (GSe +6.5% 2024-30 CAGR, from +5% previously), given strong secular demand and supply tailwinds.”

Long-Term Growth Ahead

“Over the long term, we believe that demand for live entertainment will be driven by i) supportive demographic and consumer trends, and ii) the increased awareness of and social value attributable to live events brought about by streaming and social media,” the report concludes.

Read the Goldman Sachs Music In The Air Report here.

Live Nation attendance up 21%

Revenue was up 21% to $3.8 billion at Live Nation in Q1 2024, and attendance grew 21% to 23 million fans with 77 million fee-bearing tickets sold.

Its Ticketmaster division has sold 112 million fee-bearing tickets so far this year, up 4%.

“Our Q1 results demonstrate that live events remain a priority for fans around the world,” said Live Nation president/CEO Michael Rapino in its latest report to investors. Global fan demand is stronger than ever, more artists are out on the road, and more venues are being added to bring them together.”

More Live Nation Q1 stats

  • Concert ticket sales for arena and amphitheater shows were up more than 10%
  • 85% of full-year shows at large venues are already booked, compared to 75% last year
  • The company will add 12 or more major venues globally in 2024/25 adding a total capacity for over 8 million
  • Attendance nearly doubled for international artists across the top 50 global tours compared to five years ago
  • Latin Music
    • Ticket sales for Latin shows in the U.S. are up more than 10% over last year
    • Confirmed U.S. Latin shows for Latin are up approximately 40%

Independent Artists, Venues & Promoters Struggle

Virtually all of the positive numbers and predictions from Goldman Sachs and Live Nation address the top 5% of the live music market.

Ask the artists, venues, and promoters working below the stadium, arena, amphitheater, and large theater level, and they will tell you they are facing skyrocketing costs and lower attendance caused partly by increased competition at the top end of the market.

The UK lost 125 smaller music venues last year, and Australia lost 1,300 or one-third of its small and mid-sized music venues since the start of the COVID pandemic. t

While no firm numbers exist for the US, dozens of venues, independent promoters, and agents tell Hypebot they are struggling too.

Even at the top end of the festival market, ticket sales at Coachella were reportedly down 15%, and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Los Angeles’ Beach Life Festival, and Daytona Beach’s Welcome to Rockville festivals all failed to sell out this year.

Tomorrow’s Headliners

Beyond the immediate effect on live music’s 95%, weakness at the mid and lower levels of its ecosystem is a warning sign for its top end.

Where will tomorrow’s large venue headliners come from without a robust live touring training ground to nurture them?

Bruce Houghton is the Founder and Editor of Hypebot, a Senior Advisor at Bandsintown, President of the Skyline Artists Agency, and a Berklee College Of Music professor.

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