It’s not a secret that live music has kept many artists afloat as the recorded industry has cratered. But fifty percent of last year’s top 100 grossing acts are over 50 years old. Mick Jagger is 73 years old. So what will happen to the live music industry when they’re no longer around? On this episode of Musonomics we’re talking about the future of the live music industry and rock’s demographic crisis. Neil Shah, a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, is wondering whether the next generation of artists will be able to command the same ticket prices and bring the same revenue to fill the hole that would exist when Mick Jagger no longer sings “Satisfaction” at sold out stadiums. And if they do — are they gonna be able to do it for the next thirty years?
Music festivals are a big source of income – especially this time of year. Over 32 million people attend music festivals in the US every year. This year’s Coachella sold out in only three hours after the lineup was announced in January. Over the last ten years, concert promoters have been buying stakes in music festivals. Live Nation recently became the majority shareholder in Bonnaroo and the Isle of Wight and is now producing over 60 festivals. AEG Presents, the world’s second largest music promoter, is producing 18, including Coachella the highest grossing music festival. Neil Shah says the promoters are looking to take stakes in a business that will increasingly provide a bigger share of live music revenues.
But it’s not all sunshine. 2016’s Bonnaroo was the least attended in that festival’s 15 year history. And both Tomorrowland and Wakarusa cancelled their festivals last year. This – paired with a lot of lineup overlaps – has raised the question whether we have in fact reached what’s been called peak music festival. Cherie Hu writes about music and technology in Forbes. She thinks characterization of the current scene as “peak festival” is an oversimplification. To get to the bottom of the claim that festivals have a lot of lineup overlaps, she analysed the data from nine upcoming festivals. Hear what she found out in this episode of Musonomics.