Here’s another collaborative piece, this time with Eventbrite, as we learn more about the value of music discovery and the connection with music fans who attend concerts.
There’s an ongoing debate about the future of the music industry—and a central issue
revolves around how people’s changing consumption habits are affecting revenue for
Case in point: per capita spend on CDs and digital downloads fell from $35 in 2008
to $18 in 2014. However, per capita spend on live music grew from $29 in 2008 to
$48 in 2014.
Though it may look bleak for album sales alone, it’s promising news for the music
industry at large because concert-goers are more profitable–by a long shot–to the
industry than a fan who just buys an album and skips the show.
Fans that buy tickets to live events, big or small, spend nearly twenty times as
much on music (including concert ticket purchases) than non-ticket buyers: $276
compared to $15.
They spend four times as much on CDs and downloads, 10 times as much on
merchandise, and are nearly twice as likely to pay for a music subscription. As a platform that has ticketed more than 165,000 music events to date, Eventbrite has
experienced first-hand the rapid growth of concerts and festivals. So we set out to
understand the link between music discovery and live concert attendance.
In partnership with independent research company MusicWatch, Inc. we conducted a
nationwide survey of 1,000 people between the ages of 18-49 who have attended at
least one concert in the past year. We analyzed the results by grouping fans according
to the primary channels they use to discover new music and how uncovered postdiscovery
behavior is helping drive incremental spending in live music.
Has the advent of social media and streaming services turned traditional discovery on its
head, driving listeners to the live show rather than the record or iTunes store? Let’s take
a look at streaming first.
What does streaming have to do with ticket sales?
Streaming services are on the rise, with participation growing from 56% of the Internet
population in 2012 to 69% in 2014. As a result, streaming services have become a major
source of music discovery: when asked how they discovered artists and bands in the
past year, 42 percent of survey respondents cited audio or video streaming services like
Pandora, Spotify and YouTube. And with new streaming services brought to market by
key players ranging from Apple to Jay Z, this trend isn’t going to slow down anytime
There’s understandable concern throughout the industry that streaming-induced
discovery will merely lead to more streaming, especially as physical and digital sales
decline. But fortunately for artists, that’s simply not the case. Half of the fans that
discover a new artist or band through streaming are buying tickets to their show.
But are all my friends doing it?
The music-curious aren’t just leaning on streaming services to find new sounds. Two out
of three respondents say they discover a lot of music they like on social networks, and
14 percent mentioned learning about entirely new artists and bands on Facebook,
Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr.
After seeing friends post about music or concerts, people don’t just listen to music—they
take the leap from online to offline and actually buy tickets to shows.
Part of this is because friends don’t let friends hit shows alone. The other part is thanks
to FOMO, “Fear of Missing Out,” which helps drive ticket purchases and concert
attendance. At Eventbrite, we’ve seen that a single Facebook share drives an
incremental $4.48 in ticket sales for music events.
It’s clear from those that discover music via social channels that nothing can replace the
exhilaration of a live show, especially when you know all your friends are there.
Guess what else drives FOMO?
Turns out, live streaming of events also fans the FOMO flames. Sure, people can now
enjoy live concerts from the comfort of their couch, but faraway fans aren’t just watching
shows passively in their slippers—they’re engaging online. A recent Eventbrite study on
20 million conversations about music festivals shows 23% of those posts came from
people participating remotely—totaling over four million updates from fans missing out.
After Coachella live-streamed the festival in 2011, ticket sales went through the roof (or
should we say, through the Sahara tent?). And the trend isn’t just a fringe thing: 70% of
live streaming participants say they are more likely to attend a future live event after
participating in the experience online.
Which channel breeds the highest value music fan?
While radio and TV remain the largest forms of discovery, the 8% of people who say
they discover new artists while at a concert, show, or music festival are
significantly more likely to purchase a ticket to see them perform again later. Just
goes to show, there’s nothing like the real thing, baby.
Fans who discover artists at live events are nearly two times as likely to buy artist
merchandise. And considering that the average merch buyer spends $104 in a year,
fostering discovery at shows has the potential to build a larger pool of revenue for artists.
Moving beyond linear discovery
While linear forms of discovery like radio-to-consumer are still very much alive, music
discovery today is a more integrated process. Streaming, social and live are on the rise,
and ultimately serve as key contributors to the upward trend in live music spending.
These integrated channels have the power to accelerate the discovery of new artists,
creating a viral loop that amplifies buzz and drives ticket sales.
The experience of attending a show is becoming more and more popular—and
profitable. Fans that buy tickets to live events, big or small, spend nearly twenty times as
much on music than non-ticket buyers. Not only is live the most engaging way to
experience music, it creates the strongest bond between artist and fan. Fans become
more emotionally and financially invested in the artists they experience live, bringing
more value to the industry—and the artists who make it run.
1: MusicWatch Annual Music Study, Internet Population 13+
2-4: MusicWatch, Inc
This article also appears on Eventbrite.com.