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The annual guide to the global live entertainment ticketing business
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Having topped the World Happiness Index for two consecutive years, Finland is on course for another fine post-pandemic year for the live events sector. However, concerns over the Russo- Ukrainian War continue to plague promoters and venues worry about the lack of international artist presence, as well as the financial ramifications the conflict has on the industry.
CTS Eventim’s Lippupiste, Ticketmaster Finland, and local brand Tiketti remain the most prominent operators across Finland.
Key venues in the territory normally have exclusive relationships with some of the aforementioned ticketers, with the most recent one being Lippupiste’s deal with the 15,000-capacity Nokia Arena in Tampere — which opened in December 2021.
On the other hand, Ticketmaster Finland’s partnership with the Helsinki Halli — formerly known as the Hartwall Arena — is on hold as the venue is closed. The return of this venue is important to the market both from a live music perspective and a ticketing viewpoint.
Due to its Russian owners being put on the Western sanctions list over the ongoing war in Ukraine, the Finnish capital’s largest indoor arena has been left unused since March 2022.
Due to its Russian owners being put on the Western sanctions list over the ongoing war in Ukraine, the Finnish capital’s largest indoor arena has been left unused since March 2022. At the time of writing, the Helsinki Halli is still up for sale with the aim of reopening it in the near future.
Meanwhile, most of Finland’s biggest festivals, which include Ruisrock, Provinssi, and Ilosaarirock, continue to grant ticketing allocations to a few operators. However, there is a three-way split in some cases, and some Live Nation extravaganzas are exclusively with Ticketmaster Finland.
Distribution of sales
When it comes to technology, Finland — a country renowned for its swift adoption of digitalisation — remains ahead of the curve, with the most popular method being mobile ticketing. “90% of tickets are received via text message, email, or through an app,” says Aino-Maria
“90% of tickets are received via text message, email, or through an app.”
Paasivirta of Fullsteam Agency, Finland’s leading concert promoter and booking agency.
Value of market
In 2021, the overall value of the Finnish live music industry amounted to approximately €314m according to Music Finland, with the total figure being divided by the country’s private and public sectors.
The private sector, which includes clubs, stage performances, concerts, and festivals, was estimated at €110m
— which amounted to approximately 3.5% of the overall ticket sales and constitutes about 70% of the overall turnover. The public sector, which covers symphony orchestras, opera, and ballet, amounted to €204m.
While scalping represents several challenges for the Finnish market, experts believe that it’s not as big an issue as it is in other parts of the world. Efforts to combat fraudulent transactions have been strengthened by Ticketmaster Finland’s Resale system, which was launched this year to great acclaim.
“It’s been terrific to see more fans engage with Resale.”
It’s been terrific to see more fans engage with Resale,” says Kristian Seljeset, regional VP of Northern Europe, and managing director of Finland, Norway, and Sweden. “With Resale, audiences are more confident than ever that their tickets are being handed to fellow fans in a secure manner.”
International/domestic splits & genres
Finland has always been a haven for heavy metal, but other genres have been embraced by the country’s younger demographic. “According to a study by Teosto, the Finnish music copyright association, under-25s heavily lean on pop and rap music,” says Paasivirta. “Whereas rock shows are mostly attended by audiences older than 25 years old.”
“According to a study by Teosto, the Finnish music copyright association, under-25s heavily lean on pop and rap music.”
Meanwhile, CEO of concert promoter All Things Live Finland Hardi Loog reveals a new trend: “There’s a strong country music presence in Finland,” he says. “Local country music seems to be doing really well at the moment.”
According to Paasivirta, consumer behaviour seemingly varies on an annual basis when it comes to purchasing event tickets. “At the moment, festival tickets are bought very close to the opening day when compared to other European markets,” she says. In a unique move, employers in the country can also provide their employees €400 tax-free as “culture vouchers” that can be exchanged for tickets.
“At the moment, festival tickets are bought very close to the opening day when compared to other European markets.”
Meanwhile in Turku, located only a couple of hours drive away from Helsinki, plans are afoot to open a new arena by 2027. Called Ratapiha, the city has commissioned over €42m to build a venue that can stand toe-to-toe with the Nokia Arena and the Helsinki Halli (if it reopens). Construction is set to begin in 2024.
Taxes & charges
10% VAT applies on ticket sales, with service charges ranging from €1.50 to €4.50 and an additional €1 for credit card transactions. However, the newly appointed Finnish government is currently debating on whether to raise the VAT on tickets to 14%, but no firm decision has been made had been made at the time of going to press.