Market research company Technavio predicts 20% growth annually until 2020, in contrast to 2% overall in event ticketing
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"This is an industry that's going to grow for a very long time," says the Live Nation CEO in a new interview
By James Hanley on 06 Nov 2023
Live Nation chief Michael Rapino says a “cultural behavioural change” is driving the live music boom and forecast a “very strong” decade ahead for the business.
The company delivered its “strongest quarter ever” in Q3 2023 after reporting revenue of US$8.2 billion (€7.7m) and is on pace for a record year, with 2023 ticket sales of 140 million to-date already outselling 2022’s full-year total of 121m.
And in an interview on CNBC’s Power Lunch, Rapino said the data indicates the surge is not the result of pent-up demand from the pandemic shutdown.
“There’s a lot of debate, is this a pent-up post Covid [demand]? Or is this a structural new beginning? And we really believe this is a cultural behavioural change with consumers – especially from the bottom up,” said Rapino.
“We see that across the globe: that 19-year-old, that 14-year-old on Tik Tok that understands that Drake dropped a single this morning and wants to go and see that artist, is a behavioural change. So we believe demand on a global basis for the next decade is going to be very strong.”
“We think digital is the greatest marketing discovery tool that has helped live music in general”
Rapino highlighted the power of streaming and social media in supporting the international rise of artists such as Bad Bunny.
“Bad Bunny has 100 million followers, he’s a medium in himself,” added Rapino. “So we look at all of those factors [when we] say this is an industry that’s going to grow for a long time. We think digital is the greatest marketing discovery tool that has helped live music in general.
“Now, the other part that is really great about it is 70% of fans go to shows and have to have that Instagram moment. So it is a real FOMO reality… We have a lot cooking on how we can do more and more with consumers on a digital platform, for sure.”
Moreover, Rapino suggested that concerts offered a “very affordable” entry point, especially when compared to other forms of entertainment.
“It’s still only $35 to get into a concert. Although there’s always the PR around the top ticket, it’s still a very affordable event”
“First of all, consumers will rank concerts as the top social event they want to go to – 70% say it’s one of their greatest memories in life,” he said. “It’s still only $35 to get into a concert. Although there’s always the PR around the top ticket, it’s still a very affordable event versus sports, versus going to Disneyland, versus going out for dinner. So overall, this is still a very affordable event. Consumers can get in at any price point.
“Yes, at the very top end, scarcity does come into play in some of these top artists at the very top. But you look at a Beyoncé ticket at $400 for the front row, and the Lakers [basketball] is $25,000 for courtside. There’s 80 of those [games] a year. So it’s still a very affordable business. And we look at secondary – a $10-12 billion industry – continually shows the scarcity of those tickets still has a lot of pricing power left.”
Rapino also reiterated that the growth was not solely down to top tier artists touring in 2023.
“It’s been an incredible year. But our business is very spread from the top to the bottom and across 40 countries, so any one artist is only about 1% of our business,” he said. “It’s not like the movie business where you have these big blockbusters. It’s diverse, spread across amphitheatres, clubs, theatres and stadiums.”
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