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Live music: officially better than sex

Live Nation has released the findings of the Power of Live, a survey of more than 20,000 music fans which reveals, among other things, that for 71% of people concerts are the moments that “give them the most life” – and that the average fan prefers going to a show to having sex.

The study, conducted in partnership with research agency Culture Co-op, found that, “in today’s digital age, live music is more necessary than ever and creates the ultimate human connection”. It reveals trends and behaviours of 22,500 live music fans, from 11 countries and ranging in age from 13 to 65.

According to Live Nation, the report’s key themes are:

In today’s fractured world, live music is more important as a unifying force than ever before
When asked what defines them most as a person, respondents said music drives identity more than their hometown, politics, race or religion. The only things that are a bigger force than music are friends/family and pastimes.

Live music is in high demand
The study reported two thirds of generation X, Y and Z (spanning ages 13–49) go to at least one concert or festival a year, with a majority of those that attend going to multiple events. Live Nation sees this growing demand reflected in the sheer number of fans coming out to concerts and festivals, with event attendance jumping to 86 million in 2017, a 21% increase from the prior year.

Live music facilitates bonding and instantly increases your mood
Proven through a biometric experiment that studied fans in their element at a live concert, nearly 70% of participants showed significant synchronisation of body movements which served as a proxy for oxytocin, the hormone that facilitates bonding and human connection. And the feeling is lasting – even after the encore, participants had a mood increase of [five times] compared to how they felt before the show.

“Respondents reported that they were 10% more likely to value live music over sex”

Live music creates more intense emotions than streaming music, and many value it more than sex
When asked to reflect upon a recent live music experience, and rate how emotionally intense they felt, 78% of respondents reported they felt high emotional intensity. Other live events and media experiences didn’t stack up: respondents reported feeling less emotionally intense while streaming music (-27%) or while playing video games (-31%). And respondents reported that they were 10% more likely to value live music over sex.

The emotional intensity of live music opens the mind to new ideas
Sixty-seven per cent of global audiences say the more emotionally engaged they are, the more open they are to new ideas. In fact, 90% said brands are welcome in the space as long as they find authentic ways to enhance their experience.

Live music fans are cultural catalysts
Globally, concertgoers are 29% more affluent, four times more likely to be micro-influencers (defined as having at least 1,000 followers on social channels) and are +121% more likely to say they are highly influential among peers.

Other facts include:

Read the Power of Live in full at https://www.livenationsponsorship.com/international.


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Synchronised brainwaves: Why music is more enjoyable when it’s live

The brainwaves of music listeners synchronise better when they attend a concert, demonstrating that people enjoy music more when it’s live and experienced as part of a group, according to a new study.

Hot on the heels of recent research from the UK that revealed going to concerts is better for one’s wellbeing than doing yoga, scientists in Canada have found when individuals attend a live show and listen to music as a group, their brainwaves synchronise, or entrain – a bond that indicates each individual is having a better time as part of a collective.

The findings are a reminder that humans are social creatures, says neuroscientist Jessica Grahn, a professor at Western University in London, Ontario, who co-led the study.

Using McMaster University’s LIVELab concert hall, Dr Grahn’s research team hired a band to perform for 24 participants in the audience, simultaneously measuring their brainwave data while also taking motion captures of how people move to both live and recorded music, according to Neuroscience News.

“We thought it would be neat to use the LIVELab to look at people listening to live music and recorded music and look at how social bonding is affected and how our brainwave synchrony is affected,” she explains.

“With live music, you get greater synchrony between the audience members”

Researchers collected electroencephalography (EEG) data from participants and looked at how well synchronised their brainwaves became.

“It turns out that in the live music condition, you get greater synchrony between the audience members than you do in the recorded condition or the condition where it’s recorded and you don’t have much of an audience to interact with,” Dr Grahn continues.

The study, ‘What makes musical rhythm special: cross-species, developmental and social perspectives’, found synchronisation is greatest in the presence of live performers. It is less so when watching a recording of the performance as a larger group and even lesser when watching that recording in a small group.

Dr Grahn’s research also shows some evidence that one of the reasons music evolved is because it allows large groups of people to synchronise their movement. When people move together, there is evidence they feel a sense of community and more altruistic, she explains.

A previous study in Australia, published in early 2016, found live music can have a positive effect on mood and increase happiness.


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It’s official: Going to concerts makes you happy

Regularly seeing music live can have a positive effect on mood and increase happiness, researchers in Australia have discovered.

Surveying a random sample of 1,000 Australians, Melissa K. Weinberg and Dawn Joseph of Deakin University in Victoria, Australia, found that the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI) – defined as participants’ level of satisfaction with their standard of living, health, achievements in life, relationships, safety, community, connection, and future security – of those who attend live music events or go out dancing were “significantly higher” than those who “did not engage with music in those forms”.

“Engaging with music by dancing or attending musical events was associated with higher subjective wellbeing than for those who did not engage with music in these forms”

According to Weinberg and Joseph, the social component of gig-going is particularly important, with “people who sang or danced in the company of others reporting higher scores on many domains of SWB [subjective wellbeing] than those who engaged with music alone”.

While the researchers found definitively that those who go to concerts were, on average, happier, there is a caveat: Those who are able to regularly see live music are also likely to be better off financially. “In Australia, attending musical events is costly,” says their study, which can be read in full here, “and may be a privilege afforded to those who earn a higher income.”


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