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Polska muzyka

Poland’s live music sector is thriving. Adam Woods learns that new stadiums are attracting A-listers, but that the lack of small venues remains a problem for touring acts

By IQ on 10 Nov 2016

Life Festival, Oświęcim (Auchwitz), Poland

Life Festival in Oświęcim (Auchwitz)

There are many sides to the migration and Brexit debates that have gripped Europe this year, and the Polish live business has a very particular angle.

“Apparently, there are 800,000 Poles between the ages of 18 and 24, in the UK alone, and normally, those are the people you would expect to come to your gigs,” says Steven Todd, Live Nation’s head of central and eastern Europe. “We don’t have a problem selling tickets, but in the long-term, it is an issue. If the UK lost a million people of that age, they’d have a problem there too.”

The counterweight to the population drain, however, is that Poland is, in the wider analysis, a country on the up, and that goes for its music business too. “There are 40m people in Poland, and the latest economic report said that GDP grew 3.1% in Q2,” says Todd, who reports that 2016 has been “a boom year” for concerts, on the back of a very decent 2015, with 2017 looking better still. If all that migration has put a drag on the market, imagine how fast things would be growing without it.

“If the UK lost a million people of that age, they’d have a problem there too”

Last time IQ profiled Poland, in 2013, Marcin Matuszewski, CEO of ticketing market leader eBilet, estimated the Polish concert ticket market at 200million Polish złoty (zł). These days, he puts the figure at zł600m, or €140m, with zł500m of that spent online, indicating both fast growth and a technological shift for a country that scarcely had a concert business 15 years ago.

“Sometimes, in the past, not everyone would come here, and often agents would treat Poland like it was some sort of difficult, mysterious eastern country,” says Tomasz Waśko of promoter Go Ahead. “But now it has changed a lot and I think we are treated more as an integral part of the European music scene.”


Read the rest of this feature in issue 68 of IQ Magazine.

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