Report: Millennials are changing the live music industry, even to the extent stadiums are changing their designs
Promoters and venue owners around the world have been put on notice.
The next generation of concert-goers, the Millennials, have different ideas about concerts, and the live music industry had better make changes.
Because the Millennials are increasingly the ones with the purchasing power.
They’re also buying more concert tickets because promoters are making it easier for them to do so online, or as a bundle with a new record, or as part of watching a video or streaming a record.
The rising popularity of secondary ticketing sites is also generating ticket sales.
In fact, with the whole process being tech-based, the concert experience for the younger generation begins with ads appearing in social media to buying online to photo-sharing apps and tech stuff as wearables.
Digital downloads of the show extend the experience long after the stage production s pulled down and moved to the next town.
Earlier this week, Scotland’s events and festivals industry came together at the National Events Conference themed Setting The Stage For 2025.
One of the keynote speakers, David Coletto from Abacus Data, in a presentation called Disruption and Generational Change, repeated the three things to note about Millennials.
They are about “doing” and not “having”.
They are about experiences but these have to be honest and value for money.
They want to be told a story but it has to be authentic.
Coletto emphasised: “This generation is a product of their environment and they have been shaped with entirely new skill sets, opinions and values.
“The more you learn about Millennials the more you can comprehend and appreciate the significance of the economic, political and social change happening around us.
“The needs of the Millennial generation compared to those of previous generations are so different.
“We are often described as the experiential obsessed generation and it is this generational change that is disrupting so many markets, including the events and festivals sector.
“With Millennials currently representing a quarter of the population in countries across the world, whether it be Scotland, the UK, American or Canada, it is a key market that represents a great opportunity for the industry.
“So understanding the change and harnessing it to your advantage is vital if you want to succeed in attracting and retaining a millennial audience for your event.”
Already venues are changing their designs for the emerging generation at a cost of up to $200 million, said a report in Pollstar.
One of the changes is that they are abandoning, or drastically cutting back on the number of suites – once considered a major revenue earner by operators.
Philips Arena in Atlanta, cut back suites from 90 to 20, and these are more tech-and social media-orientated.
Millennials like open spaces where they can interact with friends, and being able to walk around the entire arena.
So where the old suites were are now tables and curtains. Here younger concert and sports goers can create their own experiences, private or public.
The range of food and drinks on offer also have to be widened, to fit in with “experiences”. So are the ways they are served, in VIP areas or even, pool-side or in cabanas.
Steve Koonin, CEO of the Atlanta Hawks which s based out of Philips Arena, told Pollstar, “Today’s concertgoer, that is of a certain age, doesn’t go to concerts alone.
“They bring their social networks with them.
“So instead of 18,000 linear seats, all the same, and a few boxes called suites, we have created seven or eight different seating configurations.”
There needs to be more research to draw younger music fans, and by brands to create greater loyalty.
Acts with a huge social media and streaming presence are a priority.
An Eventbrite study showed that 80% of millennial music-goers are more likely to attend a concert or music festival featuring artists who affect positive change through music.
What’s more, 79% attend live music events to express their support for the artists’ beliefs and values.
Pollstar also spoke to Rob Johnson, author of Millennial Reboot. He emphasised that venues which didn’t respond to Millennial expectations would lose.
“There’s a new generation of fans who have unlimited entertainment options at the stroke of the remote for Netflix,” Johnson explained.
“But if you create a velvet rope and a shareable experience, you’re going to have a winner on your hands.
“As these venues are designed or redesigned, they’re for the next generation.
“Now, as a fan, how are these experiences shareable?
“ And what we’ve learned over the years, if you can’t share an event, were you really there?
“That becomes the focus from your entry into the building.”