Concerts — they bring people together, unite a group with similar music taste, and allow fans the experience to connect with artists they love. Concertgoers plan trips to different states and cities – even countries – to attend a music event. So, what happens when the industry is suddenly halted?
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread postponements and cancellations across the entertainment industry, putting a pause on major tours like The Rolling Stones, Dead & Company, and Billie Eilish, and postponing major festivals like Coachella, Stagecoach, and Bonnaroo. According to a report by Pollstar, the live event industry could face up to $9 billion in losses of revenue this year; while cancellations continue, that number increases.
A new survey, conducted by the United Talent Agency dubbed “Media and Entertainment in the Time of Coronavirus,” found that 90% of concertgoers have sough to replace the live music experience while constrained to their home, Pollstar reports. The agency surveyed nearly 1,100 respondents in the randomized survey, which found that music fans are ultimately craving live experiences.
“Our focus on entertainment and media is reflective of UTA’s core mission in support of artists, performers, creators, influencers, and consumer brands of every strips, and to inform our agents, clients, partners, and the entertainment industry at large,” the study’s overview notes. “But we also sought to put numbers and facts behind what we believe inherently: that entertainment content emerges as a critical beacon in dark times.”
The agency went on to note that entertainment is an “essential service” when considering the mental and social isolation that takes a toll on Americans. Already, more than one in four say they’ve already attended a virtual concert, movie night, fitness class, masterclass, or a university course. Fifty-five percent of fans say that they have been streaming performances from their favorite artists while nearly half of surveyors have watched old concert footage.
Livestreaming is particularly strong during this time. Hundreds of artists, along with festivals, have taken to different streaming services like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Switch to offer livestreams. Seven out of 10 concert attendees who participated in a live stream while social distancing said they will continue to do so, even if live music events return.
At this point, there’s no way of knowing when exactly this pandemic will end or when entertainment will return to normal. One health expert, Dr. Zeke Emanual, said that he doesn’t believe live events will return until fall 2021, and he has “no idea” how promoters are already rescheduling gigs to the fall. Even after stay-at-home regulations are eased, fewer than half of the respondents said they would attend a concert or music festival right away.
Nonetheless, there’s a void that needs to be filled. The survey noted that “this hunger for live music, coupled with hesitation regarding future concert-going, sets the stage for accelerated innovation in live music.” Respondents are seeking out anything to keep the spirit of entertainment alive, whether that be archived concerts, livestreams, or stand-up comedy shows.
Following results, the study said that optimizing the virtual experience “may be critical to the future of live music.”
See Live Nation’s full list of artist live streams here.