The season of summer concerts ended before they began.
While the sports leagues and the restaurants try to discover when they can reopen to the public, the executives of the music industry, it is increasingly recognized that the concerts will not return soon. In the last few weeks, the festivals have been cleared of may and June, while July and August are waiting to reschedule.
Outside Lands, a music festival that is held in San Francisco each August, is exploring a move to October or the next year, according to Gregg Perloff, one of the organizers of the festival.
“The odds of that occurring in August to decrease with each day that passes,” said Perloff from his home in Lafayette, California.
“We have a situation in which the public feel safe, we feel safe and the gangs to feel safe”.
Taylor Swift was beyond the Friday and told the fans that he would not play at all in 2020. Justin Bieber has also ruled out his current tour, postponed dozens of dates.
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The summer is the time most lucrative of the year for the business of the concerts, where the promoters organize festivals all over the country and organized large open-air events in stadiums and amphitheaters. According to Pollstar, a trade publication of the industry, the industry will lose more than $ 5 billion in ticket sales if there are shows throughout the summer. This does not include the loss of advertising revenue, merchandise, food and beverages.
It is likely that the damage is much worse and long lasting. The industry of the concerts will remain closed longer than the restaurants or the cinema, which can be opened with a reduced capacity.
Meanwhile, the sports leagues get most of their money from the agreements of the media with the television networks, and have discussed playing games in front of stadiums empty. But the concerts depend on a large number of people gather in close proximity, the same circumstance in which it is more likely that the coronavirus is spreading.
Government officials in Los Angeles and Illinois have warned that there may not be events this year, an opinion held by many agents and managers. A top executive of the industry predicted that the business of the concerts, it would take three years to do what you would normally do in one.
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“The industry of live concerts could be in the position most difficult of any industry in the united States,” said Perloff. “You never hear people talk about that. Speaking of airlines. Speaking of the automotive industry. But the reality is that they will be in business before you get the industry of the concerts. “
The immediate impact has already been severe. The live music was one of the first industries affected by the crisis of global health. Many large states have banned large gatherings on the 12th of march, the same day that a working group of industry, concert promoters, talent managers and booking agents urged a moratorium on major events for enough of that month.
The shares of Live Nation Entertainment, the largest concert promoter in the world, have fallen 40 per cent since mid-march, erasing billions from its market value.
The company has drastically reduced the salaries of its top executives and has borrowed up to $ 150 million.
Paradigm, which operates one of the booking agencies music of the world’s largest, fired staff and cut wages, which led to a demand for an agent fired. StubHub, one of the largest resellers of tickets, exceeded two-thirds of its workforce.
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The tours have become the main source of income for the majority of the musicians, many of whom have chosen to organize live concerts from home and transmit them over the Internet through Instagram, Twitch, and YouTube. Some have claimed tickets for shows on sites such as Stageit.
But most of the artists are making a fraction of what they once did, while the concert promoters, sound technicians, roadies, agents and managers are struggling to earn money.
“It’s a really fragile for many companies,” said Andrew Morgan, a booking agent for Ground Control Touring. “We don’t have investors, do not quote on the stock exchange, 100 percent of our income is based on the income of the artists”.
Many festivals still have not cancelled or postponed their events, including the Pitchfork Music Festival and Lollapalooza in Chicago, and Creamfields in the Uk. It is not difficult to understand why.
The organizer of the concert Goldenvoice generates more than $ 100 million in revenue from Coachella, the music festival largest of the EE. UU. Although the company cancelled the original date of April, still waiting to celebrate it this year, in October.
“It’s not that we don’t have shows, and suddenly we will have a festival with 80,000 people”.
But the agents and managers have begun to tell their clients not to wait to do a tour in 2020. Morgan has already rescheduled 13 tours.
If your client Angel Olsen is still scheduled to appear at the Pitchfork Music Festival in July, has little confidence that the event will take place. “It’s not that we don’t have shows, and suddenly we will have a festival with 80,000 people,” he said.
Most industry experts expect that the small shows are the first to return, followed by large events next year. Perloff still have 120 events scheduled between now and the end of the year, some in a place with capacity for 500 people, and another in a theatre for 2,800 people in Oakland, California, and others on a much larger scale.
The festivals are their biggest makers of money. Outside Lands has raised $ 29.6 million in ticket sales last year for the company Perloff, Another Planet Entertainment. Life Is Beautiful, a festival-mail that promotes in Las Vegas, grossed another $ 17.7 million. It has not taken any decision on Life is Beautiful of this year, which is scheduled for September.
But without a time line clear from the government on when the rules will loosen up, it is difficult for your company to market shows and sell tickets for events. Has been in frequent communication with the offices of the governor of California Gavin Newsom and San Francisco mayor, London Breed, and he is now thinking about to discuss some kind of federal support with the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
Perloff is trying to avoid the worst of the cases. While larger companies such as Live Nation and AEG have laid off employees and trimmed the wages, Perloff has not yet cut its staff of 47. And although some ticket vendors refuse to make refunds for events postponed or cancelled, has said that customers will get their money to Outside Lands when his company decides what to do.
“We are a company very healthy,” he said. “But no company can make sense for 16 months without income.”