A photo of an enthusiastic crowd in front of the 'be more Nulty' flamingo branding of the Tramlines main stage.

The Pulse of Live Music

As the music industry continues to evolve, it is prudent to reflect on audience trends, how certain changes in behaviour should influence decision making when planning an event, and how these changing attitudes shape the future of live music as a whole. The recent Q4 National Audience Research Report from LIVE - which surveyed 2,000 music fans in the UK - touches on life post-pandemic, financial constraints in the current economic climate, and further insights which should directly impact our decision-making as Event Organisers as we continue to grow within the industry.

Firstly, concerns about illness in crowds are dissipating. A mere 15% maintain apprehensions, a significant drop from the 28% recorded in May '22. The trend signals a growing confidence in the safety of communal musical spaces, which will positively impact event attendance and draw audiences back into our world. Coupled with this is the gradual easing of financial strains, which were prominent amongst audiences not so long ago. Sixteen percent have reported tightened disposable income for events, a modest improvement from the 18% recorded six months prior. The financial cadence appears to be finding a more harmonious rhythm, though it is a moderate improvement at best. With the current cost-of-living crisis, the current recession still poses a large threat on willingness or ability to purchase tickets, and thus remains a threat to the industry as a whole during this period.

Taken from the LIVE Q4 National Audience Research Report.

Another trend reflected in the report was that anxiety around refunds, a previously discordant note, is also fading away. Only 7% currently express concern, a notable reduction from 9% six months prior and 11% in May 2022. This suggests a heightened trust in the reliability of ticket purchases, and perhaps signals re-growing trust in event operators overall. The report also highlighted a complex trend where audiences are lingering in the realm of ticket purchasing; confident in being able to acquire one so they wait longer to buy them, but are also wary of the overall costs associated with attendance. This delicate balance of anticipation and financial consideration is most notably recognised amongst the 25-34 age group, and signals that the increased cost of living remains a significant prohibitive factor. As a business, it’s helpful to understand that there may be delays in ticket purchasing when managing cash flow for your event.

Taken from the LIVE Q4 National Audience Research Insights Report.

Once immersed in the event, audience feedback suggests the atmosphere is still challenging and nuanced. One in five respondents reported increased expectations correlating with the higher ticket prices (1 in 3 for 18-34s), resulting in frustration when these were not met. Further, 36% are frustrated by a perceived lapse in etiquette, believing that other people have forgotten how to behave in crowds, and many report that they are more easily wound up by event staff. It serves as a reminder that, even in the love for live music, the audience experience requires continual refinement; behaviours are learned and thus can be honed with the right signposting.

Taken from the LIVE Q4 National Audience Research Insights Report.

Fundamentally, the enduring sentiment is one of love for live music. Only 10% of all respondents professed not even contemplating attendance to gigs, which is a significant drop from the 15% recorded in May '22. The steadfast affection for live performances paints an optimistic picture for the future of the live music scene.

The Q4 LIVE Insights Report paints a vivid picture of evolving audience sentiments in live events. These insights illuminate the nuanced dynamics of audience behaviour, and for event organisers and artists, grasping these trends is paramount. It enables the adaptation of marketing strategies, reallocation of production spend, and the enhancement of the overall event offering based on audience needs and wants. Understanding ticket purchase behaviours is not just insightful; it's a vital tool for accurately forecasting cash flow and ensuring that events align seamlessly with the ever-changing expectations of the audience. As the industry continues its evolution, these insights serve as invaluable navigational tools for crafting successful and resonant live events.



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