With the U.S. still mired in a recession, a new report on the live entertainment industry in Germany could be a harbinger of things...

With the U.S. still mired in a recession, a new report on the live entertainment industry in Germany could be a harbinger of things to come.

According to a study commissioned by the German Federal Association for 2008, live entertainment sales fell 7 percent for the year, and separately concert revenue sank 9 percent for the period.

Total entertainment ticket sales dropped from 127.3 million in 2007 to 118.7 million in 2008, which contributed revenues falling from $5.83 billion to $5.44 billion.

“The live entertainment business does not only depend on the quality and variety to offer, but also on the prosperity of the whole economy,” Jens Michow, president of the association, told Billboard. “The promoter’s average profit is 9 percent before tax.”

Concert ticket sales in Germany, which make up the lion share of live entertainment spending, dropped to $3.87 billion in 2008, down from $4.25 billion the previous year. Though Germany is more populous than the UK, the German live entertainment market trails the British Isles as the two biggest European entertainment markets, followed by France and the Netherlands.

In the U.S., both Ticketmaster Entertainment and Live Nation, which dominate the ticketing and live entertainment industries, gave optimistic forecasts for 2010 in their most recent earnings reports. But, consumer entertainment spending continues to be a concern, as the unemployment rate remains at 10 percent nationally.

A growing percentage of Germans between the ages of 20 and 29 are using the internet to buy tickets, according to Billboard, with 37 percent buying tickets online in 2008, up from 34 percent the previous year. Those numbers are taking a toll on box office sales, which are down as a percentage to 32 percent from 42 percent in 2007. However, among ticket buyers over the age of 60, box office sales as a percentage rose to 58 percent in 2008, up from 53 percent.

In addition, fewer German music fans (74 percent) spent money on concessions at shows they attended than in 2007 (88 percent). Fewer Germans also bought band merchandise at shows in 2008 than in 2007, according to the report.