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New study: Royalties aside, streaming music gets fans out to shows

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Streaming services may be notorious for paying poor royalties, but at least they’re helping to bring more people out to see live music. That’s according to a new study commissioned by Eventbrite, which contends that, while streaming services have negatively affected CDs and digital download sales as of late, they’ve helped drive up average spending on concerts by a substantial amount.

According to the study, as streaming music services like Spotify and Pandora (and more recently, Tidal and Apple Music) have proliferated, average spending on CDs and digital downloads has dropped from $35 per person in 2008 to $18 in 2014. During that same time period, however, average spending on live music has grown from $29 to $48 per person. And for streaming music users who attend live shows, the study claims that half of them bought concert tickets to see artists they discovered on streaming platforms.

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Linking up with independent research firm MusicWatch, Eventbrite found that concertgoers primarily use both ‘traditional’ mediums (TV, radio, and word of mouth), and streaming channels for music discovery. From the survey — which polled 1000 people between 18 and 49 who attended at least one concert in the last year — 42 percent said they used Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube to find new favorite artists. Unsurprisingly, traditional channels remain the most popular source, as 68 percent of those surveyed used them for music discovery.

Eventbrite also argues — logically — that fans who go to shows “are worth more” to artists in the long run. And the numbers back it up: concertgoers spend significantly more on music (including tickets) and artist merchandise than non-concertgoers: a whopping $276, as compared to $15. “(Concertgoers) spend four times as much on CDs and downloads, 10 times as much on merchandise, and are nearly twice as likely to pay for a music subscription,” according to Eventbrite.

If the popularity of streaming services continues to grow, these numbers bode well for an ever-expanding live music industry now worth $6.2 billion (according to Pollstar). It is worth noting, though, that streaming services are just one contributor in increasing live music attendance. The study notes that a combination of radio, streaming, social, and live performance “create a viral loop that amplifies buzz and drives ticket sales.”