The live music industry continues to emerge from the aftereffects of the pandemic like a phoenix from the ashes. 2022 was a historic year, as evidenced by more than 13% growth in revenue among the global top 200 tours compared to 2019. Meanwhile, research agency Technavio predicts that the live music industry will continue to grow by 7% every year between now and 2026.
But that growth doesn’t mean the industry is stagnating. Quite the opposite, in fact. Over the past few months, we’ve seen a number of indicators and trends that allow us to make some high-probability predictions about what the rest of this year will hold. Successfully managing live events can only be successful when keeping these trends and predictions for 2023 in mind.
The revival of urban live music events
Americans continue to love the big cities. The University of Michigan estimates that 83% of the current U.S. population lives in urban areas, a significant increase from 64% in 1950. By 2050, that number is expected to rise to 89%, thanks in part to the fact that 40% of rural and suburban residents say they would move to the city if money was no object.
Naturally, this continued love for the city (which, though to a lesser degree, persists in most other countries as well) has made music events in these urban areas more and more attractive. We predict that 2023 is the year when urban live music events truly take off.
In urban environments, music becomes part of the culture. It’s why amphitheaters and music clubs have become so popular over the last decade. It’s also why local policies look increasingly favorably on live music, dismissing concerns of noise disruptions in favor of the cultural richness these venues—and the events they host—provide to attendees and residents alike.
Put differently: urban live music is on the rise. Promoters and event hosts ready to jump on this train, especially if the location is the right fit, can benefit significantly from attendees and performers alike wanting to jump onto the trend and enjoy a nice evening in the city alongside or after the concert or festival.
Music tourism emerges as a core attendance (and revenue) driver
Some of your attendees, of course, are willing to drive further than just into the next city to see their favorite performer. Music tourism, or the act of traveling to a state, country, or even continent for a live music event, is on the rise. And, with the COVID-19 pandemic firmly in the rearview mirror, 2023 appears to be the year it fully breaks into the mainstream.
According to one research report, the market value of music tourism will more than double within the next decade. Meanwhile, Travel Weekly calls it one of the most important travel industry trends of the next few years. South Korea, for example, has lured millions of K-pop lovers for a more authentic live music experience in a unique cultural setting.
Music tourism has become so important so quickly in part because it combines the two core desires countless consumers feel after the pandemic: to see the world, and to experience communal events once again. Especially venues in culture-rich locations can benefit from that draw, both through hosting acts with international appeal and through promotions beyond home borders that focus on the cultural experience as much as the act itself.
Co-promotion diffuses risks and maximizes attention
A thriving subset of the live music industry, concert promotion alone is expected to rise nearly 10% annually over the next ten years. But, especially for smaller venue organizers and operators, creating effective structures to promote their events can become a challenge.
Enter co-promotion, a long-running tradition in the music industry that is rapidly gaining traction.
One in three events now relies on co-promotion. The process diffuses risks for everyone involved, spreading responsibility to more heads. It also allows even small venues to manage and handle larger and more complex events, while utilizing shared networks that ultimately benefit everyone involved.
Naturally, co-promotion also comes with some risks and challenges that are important to keep in mind. But the core concept, especially in the constant struggle to gain and keep audience attention this year and beyond, makes it one of the most important trends to keep in mind for 2023.
NFT becomes an increasingly common payment mechanism
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have been the topic of plenty of industry discussions for a while now. As a digital form of art, NFTs have the potential to revolutionize the way we think about art and entertainment, so it’s only natural that they will have an impact on the live music industry, as well.
Nearly a quarter of millennials in the U.S. collect NFTs. It’s only natural to make the connection to live concerts and festivals, after which attendees can purchase virtual merchandise and even the right to own music by the artist in the rush of the performance. Even event ticketing has the potential to be transformed by a similar NFT-based approach.
Think Snoop Dogg, who sold 1,000 copies of his NFT mixtape for $300,000 in a single day after one of his performances. For artists, it’s about taking back ownership of merchandise and music. For venues and talent agencies, it’s about leveraging the excitement of the event into more sales and revenue in the virtual arena.
New technologies will enhance performances and fan experiences
No one will be surprised that technology continues to change and enhance the way artists perform and create fan experiences. But the ways in which these technologies transform the experience are worth highlighting, especially as more and more examples make their way into the mainstream in 2023:
- Digital avatars, like ABBA’s 2023 tour can create a transformative live music experience based on motion capture.
- Augmented reality, like Flume’s 2022 Coachella concert, brings visual experiences into concerts that were formerly reserved for the digital realm.
- Virtual reality, like Fortnite’s virtual concert series, allows visitors from anywhere to experience their favorite artists in an immersive environment.
For artists, these technologies provide the opportunity for increased artistic expression subject to fewer limits due to reality. Virtual and AR experiences also improve the ability of artists and organizers alike to sell virtual items, like the above-mentioned NFT merchandise, in the course of the event with minimal friction. Passive consumption becomes active engagement at every level.
As we move further into 2023, event planners will increasingly adopt cutting-edge technologies like this to create more unique and immersive experiences. That means rising competition, but also the opportunity to build events your audience won’t forget anytime soon.
Event organizers prioritize physical and virtual safety for attendees
Even as concerts and other live music events move beyond the immediate dangers of COVID-19, it’s impossible to discuss these types of events without at least thinking about the safety of attendees.
Those attendees, after all, cite safety as a top concern when determining whether or not to attend a live event. Organizers are responding accordingly, implementing stricter health and safety policies for their events and communicating those policies openly before the event. It’s become a core part of the pre-event communication stream in the way parking might be.
This process, however, doesn’t end with physical safety. Experts estimate that cybercriminals will steal 33 billion records by the end of 2023, all while awareness and prioritizing data privacy is becoming the “new normal” for consumers everywhere. For event organizers and promoters looking to store customer data, effective data privacy measures and reassurance about those measures are becoming essential this year and beyond.
Backend technology increasingly improves efficiencies
Technology, of course, doesn’t just present opportunities to improve the experience directly. Its indirect influences on attendees, through improvements in aspects like production, ticketing, and other aspects of event management, have the potential to be just as significant for everyone involved.
It all starts with streamlining backend processes. The ability to integrate ticket management systems with communications flow and marketing software allows venues and promoters alike to more easily create effective and relevant attendee journeys leading up to and even going beyond the event.
Mobile technologies are also playing into the equation. Venues of all sizes can increasingly leverage mobile features that range from e-tickets to interactive wayfinding, real-time updates via push notifications, and more. Venues can go cashless, while virtual merchandise purchases can be handled directly in the moment and via the event app to reduce friction.
Meanwhile, new booking and management tools have the ability to match continually growing demand with effective processes that can scale from small to large events and manage increased competition.
Make no mistake: the live events industry is continuing to develop new ways to engage audiences and create memorable experiences, even as competition is growing. That process is becoming increasingly technologically driven at every level, offering new opportunities for everyone involved.
Live music events continue to play a key role in fostering the growth of the larger music industry. The right music management tool can help to streamline processes and ensure that the events you’re involved in stand out among the options.
That’s where Prism comes in, as a comprehensive digital music management platform built by industry professionals whose experience has shaped its many tools and features. We can help you streamline your processes, wherever the future may lead. Get started by scheduling a demo today, and start preparing your live music events for the changes and innovations 2023 is already bringing.