Audience with hands raised at a music festival and lights streaming down from above the stage. Soft focus, blurred movement.
Music Industry

What’s the Future of the Concert Business? Let’s Take a Look.

The number of new acts capable of filling an arena or stadium has been getting smaller and smaller. What happens to the concert business when the Rolling Stones, U2, Roger Waters, Paul McCartney and the rest of that cohort retire? How will the concert industry adapt? What form will touring take? These are some of the questions that come up in this article from Musonomics:

It’s not a secret that live music has kept many artists afloat as the recorded industry has cratered. But fifty percent of last year’s top 100 grossing acts are over 50 years old. Mick Jagger is 73 years old. So what will happen to the live music industry when they’re no longer around? On this episode of Musonomics we’re talking about the future of the live music industry and rock’s demographic crisis. Neil Shah, a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, is wondering whether the next generation of artists will be able to command the same ticket prices and bring the same revenue to fill the hole that would exist when Mick Jagger no longer sings “Satisfaction” at sold out stadiums. And if they do — are they gonna be able to do it for the next thirty years?

Music festivals are a big source of income – especially this time of year. Over 32 million people attend music festivals in the US every year. This year’s Coachella sold out in only three hours after the lineup was announced in January. Over the last ten years, concert promoters have been buying stakes in music festivals. Live Nation recently became the majority shareholder in Bonnaroo and the Isle of Wight and is now producing over 60 festivals. AEG Presents, the world’s second largest music promoter, is producing 18, including Coachella the highest grossing music festival. Neil Shah says the promoters are looking to take stakes in a business that will increasingly provide a bigger share of live music revenues.

But it’s not all sunshine.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37921 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “What’s the Future of the Concert Business? Let’s Take a Look.

  • Looking at the current landscape of music festivals in the GTA-Ottawa-Montreal stretch, there’s no doubt there are way too many, meaning too much dilution of musical talent across the board. And that’s with a few festivals that have decided to skip this year (such as Heavy Montreal).

    Anecdotally, the Osheaga festival last year sold out fairly quickly (both the weekend passes and day tickets), and passes were going on StubHub for almost twice face value. This year, the festival is 2 months away and you can still get any of those tickets on the Osheaga site. The Ottawa Bluesfest is just a month away, and has tickets available for all categories.


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