If TV killed the radio star, the Internet killed the video star. And musicians, once again, have had to retool how they get their income. In the latest role reversal, those with music jobs have increasingly turned to the live concert industry and corporate sponsors to make up the income lost from digital distribution. In the last two years, live concert industry revenue has grown by 50%.
The reason behind this trend starts and ends with the Internet. Pre-90s, the actual selling of recordings tended to make up a significant chunk of a musician’s livelihood. Digital distribution ruined that model. In response, recording companies worked with the government to set up harsh anti-piracy rules, but despite their best efforts, piracy continues, and, as a result, income from recordings dwindled to just 6% of a musician’s income.
Musicians, however, were able to adapt by playing more live events. Although musicians without large followings tend to lose money on tour, more and more “middle class” bands able to play mid-sized venues took advantage of income from live concerts. These bands may not be able to headline arenas, but they can draw large enough crowds through digital means to fill smaller concert halls. With SoundCloud and Spotify, musicians utilized the Internet to attract more listeners, and they rely on the “premium version”, or the concert, as the primary income. That growing musical “middle class” pushed live concert sales until the economy stalled in 2008 during the Great Recession. As the economy strengthened and disposable incomes became more prevalent, the interest in live concerts has re-emerged and grown.
Rise in Sponsorships
More disposable income and a need to find new income sources are two reasons already mentioned for the concert industry’s growth. A third has to do with corporate marketing. Unlike an album release, a live concert tends to spawn live tweets and social media posts, which in turn creates more and more hype for the performer. Many companies want to use that hype to sell its own products by associating their brand with a sponsored concert.
Usually a higher-paying gig for bands than most standard concerts, these branded events will request individual concert-goers to register beforehand in lieu of buying tickets. As a result, bands get more money; corporations get more advertising, and a company’s marketing department gets names, or leads, that they send emails to.
More Music Jobs
The growth of the live concert means a lot more music jobs for those looking. Outside of the individuals on stage, each live concert needs those in production jobs – stage construction workers, audio techs, promoters and even prop makers or costumers. More live concerts also mean the rising need for more concert venues and the music jobs that correspond with operating concert halls or other venues.
A great example of how live concerts can influence the music industry and local economy is Nashville, which has one of the highest densities of jobs in music in the country. According to the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, the music industry has created and sustained 56,000 jobs in the metropolitan area, thereby adding $9.7 billion to the local economy. That’s a lot of music jobs created in part by a growing concert industry.
For more information on music jobs and other jobs in the entertainment industry, check out 4entertainmentjobs.com for our job board updated daily.