When Billboard revealed music’s Top 40 Money Makers for 2013, we steeled ourselves for the obvious conclusions: sales of music, especially physical music, are way down; digital music sales are rising but not enough to soften the blow of the overall decline; non-traditional musician gigs like endorsements are helping artists close the gap. One thing we couldn’t help but notice, though, was that in spite of all of the inventive new projects musicians have adopted to bring in new revenue, touring is still the #1 cash driver across the board.
Scroll through Billboard’s top ten reported earners alone and you’ll see live music references like “globetrotting tour,” “stadium concerts”, “sellout [shows],” and “return to the road” sprinkled throughout. While other areas of the industry are waning, live music keeps kicking in ways that an active artist can’t ignore. First, there’s the fact that concert ticket sales tripled between 1999 and 2009. Then there are statistics like the 500 festivals held in the U.S. alone in 2012—and that’s only counting those that took place in the Summer! Plus, new engagement tactics like live streaming ensure that even when fans can’t make the trek to see an act in person, they can still enjoy the show from afar—and contribute to its income.
Chris Road, the head of Business development at AEG Digital Media, explained for Coachella’s live stream feature, “We’ve seen the average view time is over an hour in one sitting…That’s a pretty engaged eyeball for an advertiser to put their dollar against.” Pretty engaged, indeed.
See the complete Top Earners list for 2013 on Billboard.
And here, because it’s oh-so-apropos, is 2 Chainz’ “Money Machine” from the album Based On A T.R.U. Story—also the name of his world tour.