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Covid-19 almost turned the live music industry into a blank space. Taylor Swift is helping to shake it off. This week, the pop star added 14 extra European dates to her tour to meet high demand. Artists including Beyoncé have done the same.
Ticketmaster-owner Live Nation is expecting record sales this year. The value of online ticket sales to concerts, festivals and the opera will surge past pre-Covid levels to hit almost $34bn globally this year, estimates Statista Market Insights.
An increase in surge pricing risks creating bad blood. This adjusts prices according to demand; some customers have reportedly been quoted thousands of dollars to see top names.
But Live Nation’s shares are up 29 per cent in the year to date. Importantly, the live music renaissance will boost artists’ income just as other clouds gather.
Fake tracks generated by artificial intelligence are already penetrating streaming sites, posing a threat to artists’ brands and income. Singers can be easily mimicked by computers online. In person, fans know the real deal.
As much as 95 per cent of major artists’ annual income can come from touring, says Goldman Sachs. Many musicians’ earnings collapsed during the pandemic.
Streaming is credited with reviving the music industry as a whole. But record labels and streaming sites are the winners. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority says artists can earn about £12,000 from 12mn streams in the UK. That is less than 1p per stream. Only 1 per cent even attain that popularity.
Recession in Europe — and potentially elsewhere — could dial down the volume. But as long as live events pay the bills, musicians will depend on concert tours for positive karma.
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