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Live music down 64% this year – but will rebound in 2021

The money generated by live music ticket sales and sponsorships has fallen 64% in 2020, with nearly US$18 billion having been wiped off the value of the international concert industry this year alone.

That’s according to the latest figures from auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), whose new Global Entertainment & Media Outlook illustrates for the first time the economic devastation wrought by the novel coronavirus and subsequent restrictions on staging live events.

The Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2020–2024 – whose forerunner, the pre-coronavirus Outlook 2019–2023, predicted average annual live music growth of 3.33% through 2023 – revises that figure down to 1.4% (2019–24) to reflect the impact of Covid-19.

In total, live music will generate a projected $10.4bn ($8.3bn ticket sales + $2.1bn sponsorship) in 2020 – down from nearly $29bn in 2019, and far short of the $30.4bn generated by recorded music this year, according to the report. The fall in live revenues has also helped wiped some $17bn off the value of the global music industry as a whole, as the chart below (which covers 2015–24) shows:

2020–24 live music revenues, PwC Outlook 2020

This year marks the first time since the great recording industry slump of the 2000s – when touring overtook physical sales as artists’ main source of revenue – that the recorded sector (including digital) has been worth more than live, reflecting continued strong growth in music streaming, particularly during the Covid-19 era.

Music streaming specifically is worth $20.4bn in 2020, with a predicted compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.32% up to and including 2024.

The global concert industry’s revenues in 2022 will be $29.3bn – over $300m higher than in 2019

Recorded music isn’t the only sector to have done well out of lockdown. Where physical experiences, such as live music, cinema and theatre, have been particularly hard hit by the downturn, home entertainment is booming, according to PwC, with video games (as previously noted by IQ) and ‘over-the-top’ (OTT) video – ie Netflix and other video streaming services – the chief “beneficiaries” of the Covid-19 crisis.

In the UK alone, OTT video revenue has “surge[d] by 18.6% in 2020, to £1.6bn”, the report notes, while videogame consumption is up 9.7%. “Overall, the video games industry is forecast for 9% growth this year, amounting to £5.2bn, and by 2024 the sector will be worth £6.8bn at a CAGR of 7%,” it continues.

But it’s not all bad news for live. Far from it: The 2020–2024 Outlook shows that live music will rebound in 2021, with worldwide revenues growing by 82.6%, to over $19bn, as concerts resume.

Mark Maitland, PwC’s UK head of entertainment and media, says a similarly strong recovery is expected in 2021 for other industries reliant on “in-person” experiences.

“Parts of the media sector have been hit very hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in-person activities or those reliant on advertising revenue,” he explains. “This will drive a c. 7% decline in sector revenues in 2020, but in recent months we have already seen improving performance, and as such, we expect the sector revenues to return to 2019 levels in 2021.”

Looking further ahead, PwC’s numbers tally with previous predictions made by investment bank Goldman Sachs – another seasoned music industry observer – whose head of media and internet research, Lisa Yang, said at iFF last week she expects the live music industry’s recovery to be complete by 2022.

PwC forecasts “live music to bounce back immediately next year”

Similarly, the Outlook 2020–2024 shows global revenues of $29.3bn – over $300m higher than in 2019 – for the concert industry in 2022, with ticket sales having rebounded to $23.3bn, compared to $22.9bn in 2019.

Despite a ‘lost’ year in 2020, then, PwC’s analysts see consistent growth for live music in the years ahead, noting that even though the business has ground to a halt, M&A activity continues.

“With global live music revenue expected to grow at a 1.4% CAGR, despite disruption to the sector in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic there is much to gain from having a broad-based live offering,” reads the report.

“Providing more venues reopen,” PwC UK forecasts “live music to bounce back immediately next year from its growth loss this year”.

Highlighting how live businesses have embraced technology to connect with fans during the concert shutdown (giving the recent virtual Wireless Connect festival as an example), Maitland notes that industries which have diversified into digital are the ones best placed to bounce back quickly after the coronavirus threat has passed.

“Some parts of the [entertainment] sector, such as gaming and OTT video, have been beneficiaries during the pandemic, and we expect these to continue to prosper, with many ‘lockdown habits’ continuing far beyond lockdown,” he explains.

“For sectors adversely affected by the pandemic, this has brought forward some of the digital disruption prophesied to come years later, and it has reinforced the digitisation of the industry. This is reflected in [the fact that] industries that are forecast to claw back their lost revenue are ones being driven by, or have embraced, technology as a way to connect with consumers.”

 


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Global live music ticket sales to top $25bn

The value of ticket sales for live music events will exceed US$25 billion for the first time in 2023 – with total industry revenues set to reach a record $31.5m the same year, reveal the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) figures.

The Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2019–2023, the just-released 2019 update to the consulting firm’s respected annual Outlook report, finds live music ticket sales will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.33% from 2018 to 2023, from $21.256bn (projected) in 2018 to $25.036bn in 2023.

Overall live music turnover (ticket sales + sponsorship), meanwhile, will grow 3.11% CAGR, reaching $31.493bn in four years’ time:PwC live music revenues 2019–2023

Reflecting on another strong showing in 2018, PwC’s commentary on the live sector reads: “The live music sector had another strong year, as leading artists toured the globe. The ten highest-grossing global tours in 2018 each had ticket sales that exceeded $100m. Ed Sheeran was top earner, with a four-continent tour before an aggregate audience of close to 5m people and his 90-plus performances in more than 50 cities pulled in US$432m. Taylor Swift’s 36-stop global trip amassed US$345m in tickets sales, while a combined Beyoncé and Jay-Z managed to rack up almost US$255m.

As in previous years, veteran acts pulled in huge audiences too. Eagles had a 2018 gross of US$166m, while Roger Waters, U2 and the Rolling Stones all performed well. Bruce Springsteen, Guns N’ Roses and Phil Collins also brought in large totals on their respective world tours.”

PwC’s analysts also highlighted success in the dance music sector, noting that “electronic dance music (EDM) events again drew large and lucrative crowds, and EDM DJs were paid accordingly. Calvin Harris was the best remunerated, with the artist earning around $50m, ahead of US duo The Chainsmokers ($45m) and Dutch DJ/producer Tiësto ($33m).”

“5G will ienable more streaming of high-quality video, including of live events like sports and music”

Wilson Chow, global technology, media and telecommunications leader and partner at PwC China, highlights the impending 5G roll-out as one trend to keep an eye on, saying the widespread availability of high-speed mobile internet could lead to increased take-up of concert livestreams and virtual-reality (VR) content.

“5G’s impact will be felt across the entire technology, media and telecommunications value chain for the next decade,” says Chow. “It will hasten existing trends towards personalisation, making it easier, more convenient and cheaper to access more media on phones and other mobile devices. Key impacts of 5G for E&M [entertainment and media] will include enabling more streaming of high-quality video – including of live events like sports and music – and better use of AI, together with massive opportunities for video games and VR in terms of speed and quality of images.”

While live music remains the largest single driver of industry revenue (as it has since the mid-to-late 2000s, when demand for physical product fell away), the rejuvenated recorded music sector is snapping at live’s heels, with global recorded music revenues reaching $26.7bn last year, according to PwC’s analysts, who note: “Digital music-streaming revenues, which grew 28.8% in 2018, were the largest contributor to growth.”

“All regions demonstrated rising consumer demand for subscription [music streaming] services in 2018, as well as ad-supported free tiers, and there is little sign that the market will run out of steam in the near future,” they add.

Also booming are podcasts, with the value of podcast advertising set to grow a remarkable 28.5%, to $3.2bn, in 2023, according to the Outlook 2019, and esports, which has a CAGR of 18.3%.

“Marketers need to allocate their time and attention to new types of content and platforms – influencers, live events, ads inside apps and more”

“The global esports market might still be emerging in most territories but is beginning to generate noteworthy revenue,” reads PwC’s commentary, “and those countries which are moving towards maturity show a clear path to further profitability. […] Esports is the fastest-growing sector of the video games market by some distance, and is expected to pass the US$1.8bn revenue in 2023.”

If the Outlook 2019 has one overarching theme, it’s that of personalisation: the need for entertainment businesses to recognise that consumers are “moving to the centre of their own world of media experiences”, in the words of Ennèl van Eeden, global entertainment and media leader and partner at PwC Netherlands, and pitching their content – be it an album, a videogame or a concert tour – “not at audiences of billions, but at billions of individuals”.

“The personalisation wave – fuelled by evolving customer behaviour – is set to be amplified by the forces of technology, scale and aggressive investing and competition,” says van Eeden. “The implications for organisations are profound. As the borders separating former media silos erode, companies need to think more broadly about the areas and segments in which they operate. At the same time, all E&M players must take the need to ‘know your customer’ more seriously, and marketers need to allocate their time and attention to new types of content and platforms – influencers, live events, ads inside apps and more.

“Finally, companies must focus intently on their core capabilities and geographical markets, while continually scanning the horizon for new developments and regulations, and being agile in responding to technological developments such as 5G. Put simply: it’s time to get personal with consumers, or be left out of the conversation.”

Individual 2019 and 2023 figures for all major live music markets are available in the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019, out now.

 


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Live music revenues to top $30bn for first time

The decade-long live music boom is set to continue well into the 2020s, with the value of the international concert business projected to reach US$30 billion for the first time within five years, according to new figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The latest edition of PwC’s respected annual review of the planet’s entertainment industries, the Global entertainment and media outlook 2018–2022, reveals live music revenues – ticket sales plus sponsorship – will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.3% from 2018 to 2022, reaching $30.55bn ($24.36bn of it from ticket sales) in 2022.

In the recorded sector, meanwhile, streaming continues its inexorable march towards dominating consumption, with physical sales and downloads projected to slide by -9.6% and -23%, respectively. Music streaming, by contrast, will grow at a CAGR of 18% over the next four years.

Even with that growth, however, streaming will still fall short of reversing the events of the last decade, when live shows overtook recorded music as the chief generator of music revenues. (In the UK, according to collection society PRS for Music, the switch happened in 2008, with North America following suit a few years later.) According to PwC, the 2022 gap will be to the tune of $7bn+, with streaming revenues worth $23.36bn.

“Worldwide music tours remain dominated by big-hitting, mature artists”

As evidenced by the biggest tours of 2017, when U2, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Depeche Mode, Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones took six of the ten top spots, heritage acts are still doing the biggest business. According to the firm’s analysts, “worldwide music tours remained dominated by big-hitting, mature artists,” with the aforementioned six “out[doing] the majority of younger acts”.

Outside of rock and pop, “electronic dance music (EDM) continues to draw large crowds,” the report continues. “These events are expanding internationally. Miami’s highly successful Ultra Festival markedly increased its overseas presence in 2017 and is now putting on events in Latin America, Europe and Asia, as well as South Africa. Mexico’s BPM Festival also is in expansion mode, and last year took its format to Portugal for the first time. The outfit says it is scouting additional locations.”

The positive news for the live music business comes comes amid still-growing consumer demand for other forms of live entertainment, says PwC, with ticket sales for esports events, for example, projected to rise at a CAGR of 21.1% through 2022.

The report also suggests the barriers between different forms of entertainment are beginning to break down (a phenomenon dubbed ‘Convergence 3.0’), with greater synergies between live events and sectors such as ecommerce, licensing and consumer products.

“The appeal of the live experience endures”

This convergence, it says, is “creating an ever-expanding group of ‘supercompetitors’ and specialised, niche brands that are striving to secure the engagement and spending of increasingly demanding consumers” – who “reject one-size-fits-all content experiences.

“As a result, it’s vital for companies, ranging from supercompetitors to fan-focused niche players, to use data analytics and AI to personalise their offerings. And the appeal of the live experience endures.”

“To succeed in the future that’s taking shape, companies must revisit every aspect of what they do and how they do it,” says Christopher Vollmer, global advisory leader for entertainment and media at PwC US, commenting on the Outlook’s findings. “This means going above and beyond in how they envision their business, generate revenues, create and organise their capabilities, and build and retain trust. And given the pace and scale of change under way, speed is vital.

“For many companies, the models, assets, practices and capabilities that support their businesses today will simply not be enough in the future. Standing still is not an option.”

 


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Growing concert market bucks global slowdown

The global market for live music will be worth nearly US$29 billion by 2021, as the concert business defies a plateauing entertainment and media (E&M) ecosystem to deliver another five years of solid growth.

That’s according to consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), whose respected annual Global entertainment and media outlook survey reveals live music revenue – from ticket sales and sponsorship – will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3% through 2021, making up a “little more than 50%” of total music revenue over the period.

That compares to growth of 20.7% for music streaming, which is forecast to be worth $17bn in 2021, amid a collapse in sales of physical music (-11.6%) and digital downloads (-19.2%), reveals the latest edition of the reportGlobal entertainment and media outlook 2017-2021, shared with IQ by PwC.

Analysing the data, PwC notes the concert business is becoming “increasingly international” in outlook. “The live music sector continues to deliver, with further growth expected around the globe,” reads the Outlook. “Fans appear to have an almost insatiable appetite for music events, with festival brands eager to export their franchises overseas – last year saw Miami’s Ultra Music Festival debut in Brazil, and the Mexico-based BPM Festival will be heading to two new markets in 2017.”

Its analysts additionally highlight the increasing maturity of, and consolidation in, the sector – “a handful of leading promoters dominate live music events on a worldwide basis”, it notes – with “sector behemoth” Live Nation continuing its run of acquisitions and rival AEG Presents “focusing on strengthening its ties with brands” such as MGM Resorts and Toshiba at AEG venues.

“The market is being defined and propelled by consumers’ increased demand for live, immersive, sharable experiences”

The increasing age of the average arena/stadium draw also draws comment from PwC, with the report noting that a “large proportion of the artists topping the worldwide touring charts last year, among them Bruce Springsteen, Guns N’ Roses, Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones, have also been dominant for decades”.

The positive news for the live business, which is consistent with the findings of last year’s survey, comes amid a slowdown across the wider E&M landscape, with newspapers, magazines and home video all in decline and anaemic growth predicted for revenues from cinema box office (1.2% CAGR) and traditional TV advertising, especially in developed markets. “While there are increases in revenue, E&M is approaching an industry plateau,” says PwC.

Total E&M revenues – which also include books, outdoor advertising, radio, video games and more – are projected to increase 4.2%, from $1.8 trillion in 2016 to $2.2tn in 2021; down slightly on the 4.4% predicted last year.

“The broad pattern in the global E&M market is clear: as countries become more developed, E&M spending per capita relative to its GDP increases and growth slows,” the report reads. “In fact, most E&M segments will fail to keep pace with GDP growth over the next five years.

“Although only two segments, newspapers and magazines, are declining in absolute terms [as opposed to relatively], many others are slow-growing and not keeping pace with the general rate of economic growth.”

Although starting from a tiny base level, two of the fastest-growing sectors are esports and virtual reality (VR), both of which are “just beginning to accelerate” – and are also growing in importance for producers of live entertainment.

“A greater range of esports tournaments across a wider suite of games will mean many new consumers feel the pull of attending a live event”

Revenue from VR video – which has been embraced by several music-biz giants, including Live Nation and Universal Music Group – is set to grow at a CAGR of 91%, reaching a value of just over $8bn in 2021, while the esports, or competitive video-gaming, market will grow at 22%, with revenues reaching a more modest $874m over the same period.

However, PwC warns that margins for developers of VR technology remain “slim”, with hardware companies likely to seek a cut of the sales of the VR content in order to become profitable. “VR technology is complex, difficult to support and needs to retail at a cost acceptable to mainstream consumers – only a few early adopters will be willing to pay prices in excess of US$700 per headset seen in the current market,” the Outlook says. “No one will get rich from hardware alone; the endgame for these firms will be attempting to become the standard platform for VR and hence start to charge royalties or commission from content sales.”

Despite a steady rise in the number of people with VR headsets – there will, says PwC, by 2021 be “enough headsets in consumer hands to drive an advertising market” – virtual reality remains a potentially lucrative but “highly immature” market “with underdeveloped business models, flaky hardware and lots of experimental or low-quality content”.

The company is more upbeat on esports, which it says has so far seen “strong growth […] as interest rises worldwide, tournaments and leagues become more sophisticated and sponsorship and other development money pours in to the discipline.”

Several live music companies, including AEG, Australia’s TEG Live and Vivendi in France, have already partnered with esports promoters, with other positive indicators including the steady release of new games suitable for esports, such as recent hit Overwatch, and the creation of “suitable infrastructure” worldwide (including the opening of the Gfinity Arena, the UK’s first dedicated esports arena, in London).

“Companies need to harness the economic, social and emotional power of fans”

Additionally, “a greater range of tournaments across a wider suite of games will mean many new consumers will feel the pull of attending a live event”.

If there is one overarching theme from the 2017 report, it’s the importance of “user experience”: By increasing engagement with fans – and in the process collecting more data – companies can, it reads, “further refine, target and engage their core audiences in ways that delight and retain them. That ultimately creates further opportunities for value creation.”

Christopher Vollmer, PwC’s global advisory leader for entertainment and media, explains: “Amid an ever greater supply of media, businesses that are fan-centric will find themselves with audiences that are more engaged, more loyal and spend more per capita. To thrive in the experience-driven marketplace characterised by this year’s Outlook, companies need to attract and harness the economic, social and emotional power of fans.”

“The next era of differentiation in E&M is being defined and propelled by consumers’ increased demand for live, immersive, sharable experiences,” adds Deborah Bothun, PwC global entertainment and media leader. “Consumers want to get closer, more engaged and better connected with the stories they love – both in the physical and digital worlds.”

A similar, ticketing-specific, report published earlier this year by Technavio gave a 7% CAGR for concert ticketing, with a 2021 value of $24.6bn.

 


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