Concerts and festivals across the globe continue to be postponed or cancelled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. No one sees an end in sight, and that means the concert industry is going to see a huge decline in revenue.
On Friday, the research firm and trade publication Pollstar released a projected report which showed that revenue for the industry could be down as much as $9 billion in 2020. While Pollstar’s executive editor said that the “business took a hit” in 2008 during the recession, this last decade “has been a golden age.” This will be unparalleled.
Giant U.S. promoters Live Nation and AEG have cancelled or postponed current spring tours, however, it’s unknown at this time when venues will reopen. The report shows that if touring resumes in August, the projected drop in revenue could reach $5.2 billion, however, if they open earlier than expected in late May, that figure would only drop to $2.3 billion. At this time, the initial projected for the year in box office receipts totals $12.2 billion with another $8.9 billion still unspoken for.
As previously reported, Billboard Boxscore showed that the top 30 tours of March and April 2019 collectively grossed $697.5 million, selling over 6.5 million tickets during that 61-day period. This revenue represented an 11% increase from the same period in 2018 – a 9% increase from the previous year. That means in 2020, those numbers were expected to increase, and the top 30 tours of March and April would have grossed approximately $750 million.
Some huge tours were expected to bring in large revenue this summer, including the Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour, slated to hit fifteen North America stadiums and gross an average of $10 million per show. Additionally, The Eagles’ Hotel California tour, slated to hit twelve arenas, has been moved to the fall; the iconic rockers grossed $18.6 million during three shows at MGM Grand Garden last fall, equating around $6.2 million per show. Both bands would have grossed a collective $225 million alone.
Aside from The Rolling Stones and The Eagles, dozens of A-list artists have postponed or called-off tours. In the spring, we were supposed to see shows from Billy Joel, Halsey, and Blake Shelton, with arena gigs from Billie Eilish, Tame Impala, and JoJo Siwa throughout March and April. Then, this summer, K-Pop powerhouse BTS was slated to head out on a stadium tour along with country’s Kenny Chesney and rock’s Guns N’ Roses.
Gensler expects club shows and regional shows to be the first signs of life in the concert industry again, noting that the comeback will be gradual.
“There’s still a huge market for the live business and that won’t go away any time soon,” he said.