Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Live Music Concerts Aging Out

The decade just ended was positive for the live music industry but predictions by Deloitte Touche Tohamtsu Ltd. raise concerns about the current decade (page 30 of the report linked here.)Capture

Eight of the twenty top grossing acts in 2011 have lead singers who are 60 years of age or older and attendance fell 17% during the first half of last year.

Nearly 60% of the top 20 grossing acts have lead singers who are 50 years of age or older (click chart to enlarge.)

Attendance for performing arts in general has been in decline and, over a period of almost thirty years it has continued to age faster than the general adult population. Only musicals have held even since 2002 after dramatically declining in attendance since the mid-1990s.

Disguised by venue reporting of overall attendance is the fact that they include vast numbers of repeat attendees while the percentage of American adults attending at least one arts activity a year isn’t keeping pace with population and has dropped to 1 in 3.

This includes 4.5% of travelers who attend concerts or plays during overnight trips or daytrip excursions and the two-thirds of one percent who cite them as the main reason for travel.

The aging of acts in the live music industry is reflective of upheaval in the way Americans consume music and the fact that the spending by labels on new artist development has dramatically declined.

It appears communities will need to be even more judicious than ever to not only avoid overbuilding venues or cannibalizing existing venues with new ones but because the window for optimal venue performance will cover even less of the life-cycle for the typical venue.

And both venue performance and life-cycle will become more sensitive to churn created when newer facilities emerge in nearby communities.

Community-destination marketing organizations will need to carefully calibrate promotions based on diminished returns on investment while seeking to maintain fair market share.

The good news for consumers is the devolution apparent even today in the re-emergence of the role of small clubs in artist self-development and the street-life they generate for communities.

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