Midem Music Pulse – Keys to Understand the Future of Live Music Industry

2020 plunged the whole event industry into an unprecedented situation: most of the festivals and tours have been canceled; venues and clubs remain closed, booking agencies and promoters shows are standstill. The survival of the entire value chain depends on its ability to reinvent itself and rethink its business models. What is the future of live music?


What are the new trends for the live music industry? What are the music live new initiatives? The challenges and opportunities for the year to come?

Midem Music Pulse helps you understand the main challenges and key trends shaping the future of the international music business via exclusive content from the Midem Digital Edition programme.

Every 2 months, Midem conference team offers you a curated eye on Midem conferences programme to discover insightful business tips, key facts and global strategies on vibrant topics of the music industry.

Discover 5 key facts to understand the future of live music !

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1. We are entering the era of “Small is beautiful”

“It’s probably the future: focusing on really tiny events (less than 5,000 people) and work on local artists, local public, local audience, local subsidiaries too. It was a trend that was actually starting before the COVID, but we will have an acceleration after this crisis.” – Cyril Bahsief, Founder & Promoter, Octopus (France)

This quote is excerpted from Midem Digital Edition 2020 “What’s Next for the Live Music Industry?” conference.

With the current pandemic situation involving travels’ restrictions and the fear of a second or third wave, most of the tours have been postponed to next year (March-April 2021 the soonest). Even with that perspective, it seems difficult to predict if the artists will be able to travel comfortably or if they will be at ease to go abroad. Thus it will certainly be a gradual come back, coming likely from the lower rungs of the business first (the ones still standing though…). Club shows and regional tours to be the first signs of life in the industry again.

2. Live music interaction is being redefined through exciting new initiatives

“Everybody is evolving right now and it’s pushing the artists to move quickly into figuring out what is the best way to represent themselves online, whether it’s through the technology or even just like how do you make your persona? What you do with your art? How do you make that come true? Even if there is no audience there, how you make people feel special because of what you do and how you do it.”  – Shane Tobin, VP Partnerships, Sofar Sounds (USA)

This quote is excerpted from Midem Digital Edition 2020 “Reshaping the Live Music Experience” conference.

We are seeing new initiatives arising with online festivals or 3D performances in video games. Some artists have even pushed the experience at its climax, such as Travis Scott who stroke a heavy blow with his Fortnite virtual shows “Astronomical” and his collaboration with Epic Games.

The result has been tremendous with an impressive level of production and over 27.7 million unique players in-game participated live 45.8 million times across the five events to create a truly Astronomical experience. Thanks to this unique experience, Travis became the 2nd artist the most played on radio and his streams raise from 124% !

However all these initiatives are giving a new point of view on the meaning of what is a live experience online and the importance of adapting the format and the platform to the artist and his audience. It’s really thinking about the artist’ fans and audience and the inherence and behavior that already exist.

3. We will see smarter approach to booming live streaming

“Thinking about artists that are in cycle, releasing albums and for which tours are on hold for a year and a half away, we need to keep fans engaged and it has to make sense. They can’t be forced to do a livestream just to do a livestream. So it is partly understanding the audience and what works for that artist and trying to find solutions that are case by case because there is not one solution that fits all.” – Mike Malak, Agent, Paradigm (UK)

This quote is excerpted from Midem Digital Edition 2020 “What’s Next for the Live Music Industry?” conference.

Live streaming has been seen as the new silver bullet and an exciting way of reinventing fan engagement and “story leaving” in music digital experiences. Some key players are jumping on the bandwagon and at the forefront the gaming industry. Soundcloud partnered with Twitch to help creators get paid. Superfly co-founder Rick Farman and manager Scooter Braun invested in avatar-based virtual concert start-up Wave.

However production will need to be qualitative and the general approach to live streaming will have to be thought with the artist to find the right fit and exposure. It will not suffer copycats and will have to be different from or complementary to the “in real life”.

4.The audience will grow alongside new ways of monetization

“There are additional ways to monetize beyond just the access to the content. Inherently with platform like Twitch, you can monetize through subscriptions, emotes using their bit system, you can also have digital goods that you can monetize and artists can benefit from that. On the production side, we’re also looking at how to connect the physical elements to the digital world and that’s a big opportunity for monetization whether it’s a “buy package” that you add on to your ticketed stream, and you’re getting various elements to enhance the experience from home whether it’s merchandise or VIP access, or way to customize your space…”Lauren Guss, EVP, Superfly (USA)

This quote is excerpted from Midem Digital Edition 2020 “Reshaping the Live Music Experience” conference, in which panelists are stressing out the new ways for artists and players from the live industry to earn money in the future.

Some artists have already jumped at the opportunity, like Erykah Badu who built her own streaming platform to remove all intermediate between her and her audience. For the live industry, geo-localized live streaming, brand sponsorship and “VIP packages” definitely open up interesting ways of monetization.

5. Innovation to Help the Live Music Industry 

“Our goal is to help every musician having and offering a better experience during every live performance. Knowing that there are 76 million emerging musicians in the world, technology can bring a lot to them.” –  Sami Cheref, Co-Founder & CMO, Uptune (Canada)

According to Xavier Tumminello, Innovation and Music Tech Conference Manager at Midem.

This year, Midemlab, the leading startup competition hosted by Midem for the past 13 years, has included a brand new “Live Music Experiences” category. There are many tremendous innovations dedicated to this sector of our industry, and now, they will get the spotlight they deserve.

The sector is going through its most important crisis of all time because of the COVID impact on live music. Our industry already went through a major crisis in the early 2000s, and innovation has been the key to overcome it. It took a long time for most of the actors to realize that the industry was shifting and that there was no turning back. With our experience, we should understand that technology can boost live music: the Live Music innovation revolution is happening now.


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