Live Music Biz Generated $132.6B in Economic Activity in 2019, Study Finds

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Concerts are one of the top economic drivers in the U.S. and will be a critical financial engine for igniting the economy once the pandemic has ended, a new study finds.

Titled “The Concerts and Live Entertainment Industry: A Significant Economic Engine” and produced by Oxford Economics, a 40-year-old private venture with Oxford University’s business college, the report was commissioned by Live Nation and breaks down the domestic economic impact of concerts from 2019, the last year concerts took place unencumbered. The report found that the concert business, defined “all live musical performances, such as festivals and concerts, and comedy shows held in amphitheaters, clubs, theaters, arenas, stadiums, and other venues,” was valued at $132.6 billion that year. The study also found that the live biz employs 900,000 people with associated labor income of approximately $42.2 billion. Not included in the report are theater, Broadway, sporting events, and family shows.

“Beyond its important cultural contributions, the concert and live entertainment industry generates massive economic upside, supporting the livelihoods of nearly a million people in the US and sustaining public services with nearly $18 billion in taxes generated in 2019,” says Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company. “The US needs a flourishing concert and live entertainment industry to achieve full economic recovery.”

The report found that concerts generate $55.2 billion in direct spending in the U.S. each year, including both venue operational spending to cover all the costs of show production and consumer spending by attendees before and after a show takes place. That amounts to nearly $9.3 billion in federal tax revenues and $8.3 billion in state and local tax revenues.

The report also measured the local impact of concerts and found that every $100 spent by an out-of-town attendee on a concert ticket, $334.92 is generated within the local economy. And the report found that 75.6 million people travel and stay over night at least one night a year, each year in the U.S., generating $27.7 billion in spending, while non-overnight out of town attendees spend about $4.9 billion. About $8 billion of that spending went into lodging, $10 billion into transportation and $9.4 billion in food service and retail.

“While the national impact of the live event industry is significant, live’s impact starts locally. Concerts and live entertainment events generate significant economic impacts at the state and local level as its venues spend money in local economies to sustain daily operations, including spending on payroll, marketing costs, legal services, and professional services,” a release announcing the survey results.

The report found that overall, the New York tri-state area benefited most from concert spending, generating $7 billion a year in total spending and supporting 48,473 jobs. Second on the list was Los Angeles, which accounted for $4.4 billion in spending and 29,502 in jobs; third was Chicago, $3.6 billion in economic activity creating 25,095 jobs; fourth and fifth were Dallas-Forth Worth and Houston, each generating $1.7 billion in sales with Dallas supporting 13750 jobs while Houston supported 13,159 jobs.

“As local government officials are providing approved health and safety guidelines, concerts, festivals, and live events are beginning to return to communities around the country. After a year of isolation, many crave getting back to enjoying memorable live experiences safely in 2021 and into the 2022 and 2023 seasons,” the report reads. “This renewed enthusiasm for live positions the industry for growth in the coming years as long as safety measures and vaccinations continue across the country.”

Click here to read the report and download a copy.

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