It looks like 2018 will be another record breaking year for the music industry.As summer approaches rapidly, the festival season and summer tours are getting started. Artists are making their final preps before hitting the road and fans are buying tickets to plan their summer ahead. Many music industry analysts say that in the last few years, the revenue of live music has skyrocketed. So, in this blog post, I would like to explain the current situation of live music scene in United States and what it looks like for independent artists.
As the music industry is booming, large international concert promoters like Live Nation and AEG are acquiring venues and music festivals at an increasing pace. Especially Live Nation, who is famous for buying entire tours of artists, has also been acquiring large venues and stadiums.
This year, large concert promoters are moving downmarket to acquire smaller and medium sized venues and promoters in local markets. This sounds great, except large promoters sign an exclusivity clause with artists. This means that if you are not a signed artist with Live Nation or AEG, then you do not get to play at the venues owned by the large promoters, which might also include the venues that you used to play at.
So what does this mean for independent artists? Large promoters could have more muscle power and size, but independent artists can win by the unique experience they offer. It is no coincidence that some companies have already realized this and built their entire business models on it. Two of these companies are Sofar Sound, who is booming by offering living room concerts, and AirBnb Experience, who is already home to many musicians offering “musical experiences” to guests.
Intimate live music experiences also offer for artists to have direct connection to their fans, where they can meet and also new venues for revenue. One of these revenues is merchandise Adva Mobile has great features to offer artists a platform to sell their merchandise to their fans at shows.
Independent artists can also have advantage is by joining forces and collaborating to create festivals. According to Eventbrite’s Tommy Goodwin, consumers are looking for more boutique and authentic festival experiences as well. This will not only bring different fanbases together to create a larger crowd, but also create a new attraction point for like minded bands and fans.
A great example is a GroundUp Music Festival happening in Miami for the last two years, organized by the multiple Grammy winner band Snarky Puppy and also featuring bands like Esperanza Spalding, Banda Magda, Buika and Emily Estefan. The festival is curated with activities besides concerts, such as masterclasses, meet and greets and jam sessions, which are some examples of activities that a fan would not be able to get in a mainstream music festival.
As a last piece of thought, as s touring musician I can safely say that live music is not just about music anymore, but it mostly is about providing an experience for your fans. This has good and bad consequences which deserve to be expanded in a future post, but what is for certain is that is that we need to think more creatively to draw people’s attention in live music. Just like anything else in life these days,attention spans are shorter, but the opportunity is great for creating experiences. People recognize authentic and genuine experiences and they are ready to reward it.
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Alper Tuzcu is a Berklee College of Music and Denison University alumni, and a Boston based guitarist, songwriter and producer. His new EP ‘Lines’ was released on November 2017 and his debut eclectic album ‘Between 12 Waters’ featuring 8 different vocalists is available on Spotify. In addition to being a musician, he regularly teaches workshops and masterclasses internationally. You can follow him on Instagram or Twitter, and for more information you can visit his website www.alpertuzcu.com