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The world’s leading promoters & the 40 top markets they operate in.
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The Czech Republic has a population of 10.7m people, but most of the international touring business there pivots around Prague, the country’s capital, with a population of 1.3m. Live Nation is the major operator here and has put on acts such as Anastacia, Sting, Placebo, and Slipknot in 2022, with 2023’s bookings including Avril Lavigne, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard/Mötley Crüe, and Scorpions.
However, a number of strong local players also have significant sway. Fource Entertainment’s bookings in 2022 include Lil Nas X, Bastille, and Bonobo, with acts due in 2023 including Henry Rollins, Dermot Kennedy, Pentatonix, Louis Tomlinson, and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard.
Fource Entertainment’s bookings in 2022 include Lil Nas X, Bastille, and Bonobo, with acts due in 2023 including Henry Rollins, Dermot Kennedy, Pentatonix, Louis Tomlinson, and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard.
Obscure Promotion brought in Bury Tomorrow and Sick Of It All in 2022, with Bullet For My Valentine and Napalm Death coming in 2023. Heartnoize Promotion put on shows by Los Bitchos, Black Midi, and Fontaines D.C. in 2022, with Kee Avil and Michael Gira booked for next year. D Smack U Promotion had Porridge Radio, The Libertines, Tom Odell, and Courtney Barnett this year and has booked Kid Kapichi, The War on Drugs, Dry Cleaning, and All Time Low for next.
There’s also Colours of Ostrava, whose main booker, Pavla Slívová, says the capital’s domination skews the potential of the market. “Usually, only Prague works on the touring map of international tours,” she says. “Rarely are Brno or other smaller cities involved.”
As with most European markets, the country’s live sector was badly hit by the pandemic, only for a cost-of-living crisis to follow soon after touring resumed. Unlike most other European territories, however, the war in Ukraine is also directly affecting live music’s recovery there.
As with most European markets, the country’s live sector was badly hit by the pandemic, only for a cost-of-living crisis to follow soon after touring resumed.
“It is not just the pandemic,” says David Urban of D Smack U Promotion. “It is also inflation, higher energy costs, and Russian imperialistic behaviour that have a strong influence on this recovery and people’s behaviour.”
Urban says attendance at shows is down anywhere from 20% to 50% when compared to pre-Covid times. There is immense hesitancy among consumers to buy tickets early due to all the above-mentioned factors. “People are buying tickets at the last moment, so marketing is very tricky,” he says.
“You cannot spend a lot of money at the very start as you miss them at the very end. Basically, you do a little bit of marketing to initiate the show and then heavy marketing for the last one-to-three months.”
“People are buying tickets at the last moment, so marketing is very tricky,”
Tomáš Fiala of Obscure Promotion is, however, positive about the market. “Everything is getting back on track,” he says, but admits that pricing is something everyone will have to carefully look at. “I guess that we are going to be setting up a new standard for ticket prices,” he proposes. “The venues are more expensive, like all the [touring costs] are more expensive.”
He says the acts with hardcore fans, where music is a core part of their identity, are not seeing a dramatic downturn in attendance numbers, but acts that have what he terms a “softcore” audience are struggling.
David Čajčík from Roxy Prague/Heartnoize Promotion, says the country is still navigating the talent drain that was caused by the pandemic. The infrastructure in 2022 is not what it was in 2019, so the sector cannot operate at the same capacity.
David Čajčík from Roxy Prague/Heartnoize Promotion, says the country is still navigating the talent drain that was caused by the pandemic.
“A lot of people left the industry, and there are still no replacements for some of the positions,” he says. “Young music industry professionals are really not there to substitute for all the older people who left for perhaps easier lives during the pandemic.”
Acts will work their way up the clubs in the capital and then get festival placements, but given that the market is so centred around Prague, this is still the main route to build international acts.
Čajčík says genres like pop, rap, rock, and metal are still leading the way and that mainstream techno is now at the same level EDM was a few years ago. He cautions, however, that the market is perhaps more conservative when it comes to other styles of music.
“Young music industry professionals are really not there to substitute for all the older people who left for perhaps easier lives during the pandemic.”
“I would love to see more diverse genres, like African music,” he says, “but it’s still not really happening. That is maybe due to the fact that we don’t really have big [ethnic] minorities, and Prague is not a super-cosmopolitan city.”
Recovery in the market will happen, but it is expected to take a long time. “There are going to be one or two years when not everybody’s going to be sure about the landscape,” suggests Fiala. “[Until then], the big tours are going to be suffering.”