At one time live performances and concert tours were just a way for bands and solo artists to promote albums that generated the majority of their income. The landscape has changed. The fact that music can now be accessed on streaming platforms such as Spotify for a small monthly subscription means that record sales have plummeted. As opposed to kids who grew up in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, who would browse through hundreds of albums and singles at the local record store on Saturday afternoons to decide how to spend the weekend, today’s generation has access to the latest releases or entire back catalogue of their favourites online.
Music enthusiasts used to attend gigs in small venues that could hold only 2,000 to 3,000 people. One of the main sources of income from gigs used to be merchandise such as t-shirts and programmes.
However, in the digital world people can get all the information they need from the internet. There has been a reduction in the demand for programmes and the services of magazine printing companies. Access to much larger purpose-built venues and sports stadiums means that concerts can attract audiences of 50,000 plus. This means that the money generated from ticket prices alone can often be tens of millions. So, while merchandise will always be around it is now of secondary importance.
Demand for concert tickets has increased since the pandemic with people determined to get out and enjoy themselves again after being locked away for nearly two years. As demand often drives the price it is no wonder that the cost of tickets is much higher than before. When you factor in other associated costs such as drinks, food, travel and maybe the cost of mementoes like t-shirts and programmes a trip to see your favourite band could be an expensive night out.
So, do we think it is worth the cost, well that depends on your point of view? In the way that some people religiously follow their local football team, others do the same with their favourite band. This means that the chance to see them perform live is the highlight of the year. So, in that respect, I would say that the enjoyment gained from such events far outweighs the cost.
Having seen the amount of money that can be made from touring lots of bands have decided to reform. As a result bands from the seventies, eighties and nineties are riding the nostalgia wave and replenishing their bank balances at the same time. One benefit of this is that people who may have been introduced to the music after the band split up will now have the chance to see them live at long last.
So, while it is easy to attribute the resurgence of live music solely to the amount of money available to the artist there are undoubtedly other contributing factors. However, as someone who enjoys live music whether it is someone doing acoustic covers down the pub, or a world-famous artist in a stadium my point of view is long may it continue.
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