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Live music revenues to top $30bn for first time

The global live music industry will continue to grow steadily over the next four years, with music streaming and esports also booming, according to the latest PwC Outlook

By Jon Chapple on 26 Oct 2018

U2’s Live Nation-promoted Joshua Tree 2017 tour was last year's most successful, grossing $316m

U2’s Live Nation-promoted Joshua Tree 2017 tour was last year's most successful, grossing $316m


image © U2

The decade-long live music boom is set to continue well into the 2020s, with the value of the international concert business projected to reach US$30 billion for the first time within five years, according to new figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The latest edition of PwC’s respected annual review of the planet’s entertainment industries, the Global entertainment and media outlook 2018–2022, reveals live music revenues – ticket sales plus sponsorship – will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.3% from 2018 to 2022, reaching $30.55bn ($24.36bn of it from ticket sales) in 2022.

In the recorded sector, meanwhile, streaming continues its inexorable march towards dominating consumption, with physical sales and downloads projected to slide by -9.6% and -23%, respectively. Music streaming, by contrast, will grow at a CAGR of 18% over the next four years.

Even with that growth, however, streaming will still fall short of reversing the events of the last decade, when live shows overtook recorded music as the chief generator of music revenues. (In the UK, according to collection society PRS for Music, the switch happened in 2008, with North America following suit a few years later.) According to PwC, the 2022 gap will be to the tune of $7bn+, with streaming revenues worth $23.36bn.

“Worldwide music tours remain dominated by big-hitting, mature artists”

As evidenced by the biggest tours of 2017, when U2, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Depeche Mode, Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones took six of the ten top spots, heritage acts are still doing the biggest business. According to the firm’s analysts, “worldwide music tours remained dominated by big-hitting, mature artists,” with the aforementioned six “out[doing] the majority of younger acts”.

Outside of rock and pop, “electronic dance music (EDM) continues to draw large crowds,” the report continues. “These events are expanding internationally. Miami’s highly successful Ultra Festival markedly increased its overseas presence in 2017 and is now putting on events in Latin America, Europe and Asia, as well as South Africa. Mexico’s BPM Festival also is in expansion mode, and last year took its format to Portugal for the first time. The outfit says it is scouting additional locations.”

The positive news for the live music business comes comes amid still-growing consumer demand for other forms of live entertainment, says PwC, with ticket sales for esports events, for example, projected to rise at a CAGR of 21.1% through 2022.

The report also suggests the barriers between different forms of entertainment are beginning to break down (a phenomenon dubbed ‘Convergence 3.0’), with greater synergies between live events and sectors such as ecommerce, licensing and consumer products.

“The appeal of the live experience endures”

This convergence, it says, is “creating an ever-expanding group of ‘supercompetitors’ and specialised, niche brands that are striving to secure the engagement and spending of increasingly demanding consumers” – who “reject one-size-fits-all content experiences.

“As a result, it’s vital for companies, ranging from supercompetitors to fan-focused niche players, to use data analytics and AI to personalise their offerings. And the appeal of the live experience endures.”

“To succeed in the future that’s taking shape, companies must revisit every aspect of what they do and how they do it,” says Christopher Vollmer, global advisory leader for entertainment and media at PwC US, commenting on the Outlook’s findings. “This means going above and beyond in how they envision their business, generate revenues, create and organise their capabilities, and build and retain trust. And given the pace and scale of change under way, speed is vital.

“For many companies, the models, assets, practices and capabilities that support their businesses today will simply not be enough in the future. Standing still is not an option.”

 


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