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Milan study finds appetite for smaller live events

The report explores consumer attitudes towards live music after the pandemic and lobbies for deregulation of permit policies for small events

By IQ on 13 Aug 2020

Gig-goers in Milan are eager to attend more small concerts

Gig-goers in Milan are eager to attend more small concerts

image © Immagini Repertorio/Creative Commons

Gig-goers have a strong appetite for a more diverse range of event formats, especially small concerts, says the findings of a survey conducted in Milan.

The report explores the expectations, fears and changes in the public’s attitude towards live music and clubbing post-pandemic, and has found that smaller, open-air events with an intimate atmosphere are in-demand.

The survey was commissioned by Milan-based think tank Music Innovation Hub and market research agency Ergo Research, which specialises in consumer insight into the cultural industries.

The researchers say that, as the first western city in the contagion curve in February, Milan is a valuable test city for understanding the attitudes of music crowds worldwide and could pave the way to anti-crisis solutions.

According to the survey, gig-goers are eager to attend small concerts in clubs, bars and parks, registration-only private events, and small out-of-town festivals.

“The data from the survey is very encouraging. Smaller events represent a huge under-exploited market. Demand is strong. We need to find ways to unleash this potential and make smaller events economically sustainable,” says Dino Lupelli, head of Music Innovation Hub.

“Smaller events represent a huge under-exploited market”

The report states that one of the biggest hurdles to making smaller events sustainable is the administrative permits and licenses required, which can be very complex and costly to manage, especially in Italy where the survey was conducted.

Regarding coronavirus, the report reflects a mixed attitude towards the current health risk. The findings reveal that gig-goers feel uncomfortable with some of the containment measures (eg. staggered entry, wearing a mask or table service only), and more comfortable with others (e.g. temperature measurement, contact tracing), but are willing to comply with all of the requirements in order to be back soon to the real-life events.

“Smaller events with lower attendance can easily be made Covid-compliant,” says Lupelli.

“And in turn they can have great benefits for the music industry as a whole, since they provide an invaluable breeding ground for new talents. Moreover, they can widen the consumer base, appealing to an audience that is currently excluded from the market because they are not interested in big events. These are typically slightly older, more affluent music lovers, according to the findings of the survey”.

The report concludes with a call to arms for the partial deregulation of permit policies could “encourage a new music explosion”.


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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