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Country Profile: Switzerland

The world’s leading promoters & the 55 top markets they operate in.
Click the interactive map below to explore the top 55 global markets.

The live touring market here is broadly divided into two parts: the Romandie part (French-speaking and around 23% of the population); and the Swiss-German part
(around 63% of the population).

The population is affluent and able to spend significant sums of money on entertainment. The German part of the country, however, has more infrastructure in terms of venues (notably arenas and stadiums) and, as such, attracts the lion’s share of non-Francophone international acts.

There has been a strong post-Covid growth, David Schneider of Just Because says. “It’s definitely back on track. Maybe even bigger than pre-pandemic.”

“It’s definitely back on track. Maybe even bigger than pre-pandemic.”

He adds that while demand for huge acts like Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, and Taylor Swift is significant, a shift toward nostalgic comfort listening during the pandemic means new and alternative acts are struggling a little. And Vincent Sager, director of independent promoter Opus One, says 2023 is shaping up to be even better than 2019 – in the first half of this year, all his shows sold over 90% of their tickets.

Michael Drieberg, CEO of Live Music Production (part of DEAG since 2019), says French acts dominate in his region of Romandie, with international acts making up only 10% of his bookings. That said, French megastars like Mylène Farmer (“bigger than Beyoncé!”) and rapper Soprano can comfortably do shows with audiences of 40,000 in Switzerland.

Drieberg suggests that musicals are seeing something of a revival at the moment, citing the successful return of Starmania, as well as enduring hits like Cats and Phantom of the Opera. “We have six new musicals planned for next year. It’s exploding. There is the traditional musical, the love story, but now we have musicals on religion as well as musicals for younger audiences who like rap and hip-hop.”

“We have six new musicals planned for next year. It’s exploding.”

On that theme, French hip-hop is strong in the Romandie region and Afrobeats is growing (with Burna Boy playing to 8,000 in Geneva and 12,000 in Zurich in 2022), but he says that family shows (notably Disney On Ice) and celebrity speakers are also growing.

Stefan Wyss of Gadget, however, feels that “family shows are having a difficult time right now,” and the market needs to move carefully. “People buy tickets for two-to-three must-see shows a year, and there is often no money left for anything else,” he says.

Schneider adds that German hip-hop is incredibly strong, as is reggaeton and dancehall. Latin is also booming, but K-pop, for now at least, is not taking off to the same extent.

It is, according to Drieberg, difficult for acts to build a following in the Romandie region because the population is relatively small; but there is demand that should be tapped into here.

“People buy tickets for two-to-three must-see shows a year, and there is often no money left for anything else.”

“For international acts, I think they should start by understanding that it’s a pity if they miss the French part just because there’s a few thousand seats missing,” he says. “We proved that with Metallica [in 2019]. We told Live Nation, ‘Let’s make the tickets more expensive, and you’ll see that we sell out. You’ll have less tickets, but if you make them more expensive, it will sell out because people are willing to see these shows.’”

Sager agrees, saying while audiences in the French- speaking part of the country look to Paris for their musical tastes, and people in the German-speaking part look to Berlin, Switzerland is still one of the most impressive markets in Europe. “We have so many festivals every weekend from May to September, and there are so many concerts considering the size of the population. But income is high and people can afford to buy quite a lot of tickets.”

He says the company promotes around 50% concerts and 50% family shows and exhibitions, which is proving very successful.

The Baloise Session is a boutique music festival which sees audiences sat at tables, like the old New York music clubs. This year’s festival, which started in October, “was sold out before the first show,” says CEO Beatrice Stirnimann.

Alongside the aforementioned companies, other key promoters of international acts in Switzerland include Live Nation GSA, Mainland Music and Two Gentlemen.

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