Millennials are driving live music’s post-pandemic resurgence, according to a new report by UTA and Variety VIP+.
The Peak Performance study combines Billboard and Pollstar data with a survey of more than 4,000 US consumers – including 1,500 active live music attendees – aged 15-69 about their concert and festival attendance from August 2022-23.
Ticket sales are forecast to hit a record $9.5 billion (€9bn) by the end of 2023 and as high as $10.5bn by 2027, as per PwC.
“Our desire to do this study was spurred by the anecdotal evidence we were seeing from our own music representation and music brand partnerships business,” Joe Kessler, UTA partner and global head of UTA IQ tells Billboard.
The report found that 49% of millennial (ages 26-41) respondents had been to a gig in the past 12 months – more than any other generation – compared to 42% of Gen Z (15-25), 32% of Gen X (42-57) and 24% of Boomers (58-69). It was a similar story at festivals, which enticed 39% of millennials, 32% Gen Z, 20% Gen X and 12% Boomers.
“As the economy improves and [millennials] have more disposable spending, I think we’re going to see a continued rise in the desire to want to see live shows,” says Kessler.
Concerts were the most well-attended live entertainment events for all 15-69-year-old consumers, with 36% of respondents having attended at least one show during the 12-month period.
“No one can know how long it will last, but I don’t think this is a temporary blip on the map”
Repeat attendance was strong, with 79% saying they had seen the same artist more than once and 59% having seen the same act at least four times. One in two millennials and one in three people overall have seen an artist more than once on the same tour.
The list of the top 5 events was rounded off by food or beverage festival (32%), professional sporting event (29%) and music festival (26%), with a total of 30% of participants saying they had travelled to another country specifically for a live music event.
The most attended shows by genre were rock/metal/punk, pop, hip-hop/rap and country, while the cost of ticket prices was put forward as the number one barrier for why consumers who hadn’t recently attended. Nevertheless, one in five people said they would be willing to spend more than $500 on a ticket.
In addition, 34% of survey participants said attending live music had become more important to them since the pandemic, with 73% saying they have been to just as many, if not more, concerts post-Covid.
“No one can know how long it will last, but I don’t think this is a temporary blip on the map,” concludes Kessler. “The data that came through the study tells us that, this is here to stay for the foreseeable future.”
Finally, 51% of 15-69 consumers said they anticipated attending a gig over the next 12 months.
“With all the headlines around live music’s triumphant return post-pandemic, UTA IQ sought to elucidate fans’ habits, behaviours, and preferences around these experiences to inspire the industry’s continued success,” reads a UTA statement. “And as we look ahead, the future appears bright. With half of live music fans expressing a desire to increase their concert attendance in the year ahead, the vibrancy of live music remains a testament to its place in the hearts of fans.”
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