Where Has the Interest in Concerts Gone?

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view from the crowd to a concert stage

Standing in the middle of a crowd: in a hall, arena or even stadium. The lights go out, energy builds from one person to the other. Excitement grows as you are engulfed by a unique atmosphere. The countdown starts: Three, two, one second left. The artist you have bought tickets for six months ago, finally comes on stage. You listen to the artist’s music every day no matter where you are or what you feel. And now this artist is standing in front of you, singing the songs you know every single word of.

If you have ever experienced a concert you will be familiar with these sensations. So if this represents such a unique feeling and memorable experience, why then only 21% of 329 of our surveyed respondents “often” go to concerts of artists they are fans of?

This is only one surprising finding of the survey we are conducting online to collect data about music consumption and general behavior of music fans. The survey includes questions involving a range of music related topics like concert experience, how music is consumed and purchasing behavior.

78% of the participants were aged between 18-28 years, which means the majority of the data so far is generated from millennials. The section on concert experience is aimed at investigating the level of attendance in different sized venues and concerts of artists they are a fan or not a fan of. Also the purchase of merchandise and perception of different concert elements is surveyed.

Besides low attendance of concerts with people being fans of the artist, results have also revealed that the attendance of concerts without being fans of the artist is even lower with almost 80% “Never” or “Rarely” visiting these concerts.

Concerning venue size there also seems to be rather low interest. Only 11% of the participants “often” visit concerts at large or medium sized venues. Similar low frequency is seen in buying merchandise at concerts. Almost half of participants indicated they “Never” buy merchandise and even the albums of the artists are “Never” bought by 36%.

Such results reveal the urgent need of the music industry to create new and diverse revenue streams. Old solutions do not work for current and will not work for future challenges. And with so many independent artists, normally without business backgrounds, this represents an extremely difficult task which must be addressed.

The evaluation of different concert elements on the other side, yields also POSITIVE results regarding the perception of concert attributes. The most relevant attribute of a concert for respondents is sound quality, which has the highest evaluation by far (relevant for 96% of respondents!). Performance of the artist is also of high importance for the majority of participants (90,4% of respondents). Audience atmosphere (88%) and safety (78,4%) also were considered as “relevant” and “Extremely Relevant” for the majority of respondents. Interesting, stage decoration, lighting, clothes and punctuality of the artists were ranked as the least important attributes of a concert.

Even though certain concert elements are rated with significant importance, the main findings indicate low interest in concerts in general. What are the reasons for this? Music plays an important role in everyone’s lives. Even if you would not define yourself as a fan of a particular artist, by listening to their songs you become part of their music. Wouldn’t it interest you to experience this music life?

There are many possible explanations why people would choose not to go to a concert. Ticket prices can be high with the average being about 70 euros worldwide in 2015 according to a recent study published at statista.com.

Another reason could be the distance to venues. Depending on the country, concerts only take place in specific cities or areas, which means long journeys to attend a concert. This is often expensive and takes a lot of effort. In addition to reasons triggering a conscious decision against attending a concert, there is another important factor which could influence concert attendance: Awareness.

Have you ever seen advertisements for concerts on television or heard them on the radio? Have you ever encountered ads on the internet informing you about concerts? Unless you are a sponsored artist, promoting your concert might be a very challenging task. Generally the main channel for listeners to find out about concerts is following the artist’s website and their social media platforms, or by checking ticket selling websites. However, this process seems often time consuming and might easily lead to information overload. There needs to be a more strategic and user friendly way of distributing such content.

So what does this mean for artists? More strategic promotion of concerts could lead to greater awareness and willingness to attend the events. But achieving it, currently represent a challenge and we can easily identify the use of outdated communication channels such as printed banners in cities and overwhelming Facebook event alerts.

Lastly, as it is shown in our study major elements of concerts like sound quality and atmosphere play the greatest importance in the consumer’s mind. Thus, such concert attributes must be more emphasized in the promotion of events, as it possibly greater interest for attending concerts could be evoked.

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