Recorded music sales are expected to rise by about $1 billion this year. That’s the good news for the music business.
The bad news was revealed by Pollstar this week in its year-end issue. The media outlet, which focuses on the live events and touring industry, said total lost revenue is anticipated to be more than $30 billion.
That figure includes ancillary revenues, including sponsorships, ticketing, concessions, merch, transportation, restaurants, hotels, and other economic activity tied to the live events.
Now, the question is, will 2021 be any better? So far, the indications are it may slightly increase, but without any giant leaps forward. With the effects of any coronavirus vaccine uncertain, cautious governments will be reluctant to allow stadium-level crowds, which are the huge money generators. Even club-level events will likely be restricted, and certainly theaters and arenas won’t be opening anytime soon in the US, UK and other countries. Many venues may not even be around when things finally return to normal.
Clearly, there is still enormous value in music, as witnessed by the massive publishing deals recently concocted by Stevie Nicks and Bob Dylan for their catalogs, and the enormous sales racked up by savvy entrepreneurs like Taylor Swift. There’s even hope for the YouTube crowd, as artists like Lanie Gardner attract enormous audiences for their videos, albeit with cover versions of beloved tunes.
But live music has always been the galvanizer for the music business. With 2021 looking to be a lost half-year at best for live events, musicians can only look toward another year focused on recording.
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