Demand for summer concerts cools after last year’s Taylor Swift and Beyoncé megatours

In recent years, live music has seen an explosive post-pandemic revival, as “revenge spending” fans eager to return to concert halls post-pandemic have paid top dollar for massive stadium tours such as Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour and Beyoncé’s Renaissance Tour. .

But a recent wave of tour cancellations and changes to well-known artists indicates that consumers’ appetite for live music may be slowing.

On Friday, Live Nation announced that Jennifer Lopez was canceling her “This Is Me…Live” tour to spend more time with her family, a week after the Black Keys announced they were abandoning a planned arena tour this fall in benefit from smaller rooms. , even after the single from their new album topped BillboardThe Alternative Airplay charts for March.

The announcements are the latest signs that at least one facet of the “funflation” or economy that emerged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic – when consumers eager to make up for lost experiences spurred demand for things like flights and concert tickets – isn’t as strong as last year.

Jarred Arfa, head of global music at touring agency Independent Artist Group, said he believes the current concert environment is less a slowdown than a return to a pre-pandemic atmosphere, where “there is has many winners, but not everything is a winner.” .”

“The traffic is catching up a little bit, while there are still so many artists on the road and people have already seen them,” Arfa said. Fortune. “Some of that post-COVID novelty factor is no longer there. »

One obvious factor is consumer fatigue with inflated costs. Since the world emerged from pandemic lockdown, the price of concert tickets has skyrocketed. According to music industry publication Pollstar, the average ticket price for a Top 100 music tour between 2019 and 2023 increased at a rate well above inflation, from $91.18 to $122. .84 dollars.

“The days when there was enough demand to sell arenas at top dollar simply don’t exist in this live event economy,” Dave Clark, editor-in-chief of entertainment industry tracker . Ticket news, said in an interview with NBC News.

“People see some of the prices they’re asking and just say, ‘Hard pass.’

Arfa also said there are more artists touring now than in the past – and not just because of time off during lockdown. A big factor is the streaming era, in which touring generates far better returns for artists than they earn from streams. But because fans’ time — and their wallets — is limited, that ultimately translates into a smaller slice of the pie for some artists.

“There are people who normally would have spaced out their tours … who are now coming back,” Arfa said. “Maybe they would have taken a few years off, but they got these COVID-related leave years.

“Traffic is probably still a little higher than it normally would be,” he added.

It’s not just the tours that are taking hold. The first weekend of Coachella, North America’s highest-grossing festival, was not sold out for nearly a month. That’s much longer than 2023 or 2022, when both weekends sold out in about 40 minutes after a two-year pandemic hiatus. On the opening day of the 2024 festival, Billboard reported that about 80% of the 250,000 tickets had been sold.

Ticketmaster has been among the biggest beneficiaries of the “revenge spending” phenomenon. Its parent company, Live Nation, posted its biggest year on record in 2023 before the DOJ sued the company in May, alleging it violated antitrust laws. After Taylor Swift and Beyoncé’s megatours last year, the ticketing giant announced a $10 billion increase in total revenue, while concert attendance increased by 20%.

But there are signs that growth could slow in 2024. Last week, Axios reported that resale prices for summer concert tickets were down about 17% (or an average of $45 per ticket) per year. compared to last year, citing data from SeatGeek. In May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that movie and concert ticket prices in April increased 3.4% from last year, the smallest increase since 2021.

Additionally, in addition to the DOJ lawsuit, concert cancellations, and popular discontent, Ticketmaster is also facing a data breach affecting millions of customers.

In a statement, Live Nation, parent company of Ticketmaster, said: “Overall market data shows demand is strong – sales are up compared to last year with more than 100 million tickets sold, even with fewer major stadium shows on tour in 2024.” The company added that concert cancellation rates this year were around 4%, a level comparable to last year.

For the biggest artists touring this summer – Olivia Rodrigo, Morgan Wallen and Zach Bryan – demand is still strong. The average resale price on SeatGeek for Rodgrigo’s “Guts” tour is $571, according to Axios. But even that is a far cry from the astronomical resale prices posted for the Eras Tour last summer, which ran into the thousands of dollars.

“In terms of megatowers, I think there may be a little less this year,” Arfa said. “Some artists automatically come out every two years and think they’re bulletproof. And that’s not the case. Not everyone can be Taylor and Beyoncé.

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News Source : fortune.com


With a penchant for words, Eleon Smith began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, Smith landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, Eleon also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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