The global music industry faced unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, as restrictions forced artists, venues, and businesses to adapt to a new reality. This was best observed when artists like Gryffin performed live gigs through digital platforms. Thankfully, as the pandemic’s grip gradually loosened, the music industry demonstrated remarkable resilience and creativity that allowed the community to bounce back.
Live Music's Return
As restrictions eased, live music has made a triumphant return in the US and the UK. Concert promoters, including giants like Live Nation, have adapted to the new normal and are even seeing a strong market performance. Live Nation reported impressive Q2 2023 earnings with a 27% year-over-year (YoY) increase in revenue, reaching $5.6 billion. This indicates that the entertainment firm is thriving in the post-COVID era. The resumption of live events brought a sense of normalcy and provided a much-needed boost to artists and music-related businesses.
In the US, this trend is also observed through the impact of big-name artists like Taylor Swift. Her Eras Tour is still ongoing but research group Pollstar indicates that it’s expected to hit USD 1 billion in revenues by March 2024. Consumer spending is also surging as a result of her events, with projections showing that they’re bringing business worth USD 5 billion in the US alone. Taylor Swift’s concerts and events are not only musical spectacles but also economic powerhouses, benefiting a wide range of industries and local economies.
The Power of Collaboration
Collaboration is a stronger driving force in the post-COVID music industry as artists, venues, and companies recognize the value of combining their voices and talents for the good of the community as a whole. Collaboration extended beyond music and included partnerships with brands and technology companies to ensure the success of today’s live events.
In the US and the UK, festivals and events ramp up partnerships and talent hiring to adapt to changing circumstances. In the US, party bands are in high demand for a wide range of live setup occasions, from corporate parties to music festivals and local community events. Similarly, in the UK, the resurgence of live music events and the reopening of venues have given party bands a new lease on life. These bands are increasingly booked for weddings, private parties, festivals, and club events, bringing the joy of live music back to the heart of the British entertainment scene. Function Central notes that they also share expert music advice and booking tips as a way to provide extra support in the spirit of collaboration. In essence, the return of party bands signifies a rekindling of the vibrant, communal spirit that live music fosters, connecting people through the universal language of dance and song.
Streaming Dominance and New Revenue Streams
Streaming continued to grow, with platforms like Spotify and Apple Music experiencing surges in subscribers and influence. In the UK, Spotify earned growth in its weekly reach of streaming users from 48% to 59% YoY. This trend shows no signs of slowing, even as live music returned.
Streaming’s dominance has also led to much-needed revenue streams to recover from canceled performances in the previous years. For artists, royalties from streaming platforms have become more significant, providing a consistent income source even when touring and live gigs have started to pick up steam again.
The Role of Innovations and Omni-channel Platforms
In both the US and the UK, artists embraced virtual concerts and live-streaming to stay connected with their fans. Platforms like Nexus Lounge also continue to bring exposure to musicians, providing them with a global reach for sharing their talents. The success of these activities demonstrates the adaptability of the industry and its ability to find new paths to connect with audiences.
The return of live music, the continued growth of streaming, the innovation of virtual concerts, and the power of collaboration have all played pivotal roles in the industry’s comeback. While the pandemic has forever shaped the music industry, the community has also demonstrated its ability to adapt, innovate, and come back stronger than ever. As artists and audiences rekindle their love for live music, the future of the music industry in the US and the UK appears bright, with lessons learned from the pandemic guiding its path forward.