Summary of our market study

As of 2020 and beyond, the global festival market, specifically focusing on music festivals, faced significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, the market had experienced considerable growth, with Europe's festival market increasing by 65.22%. However, health restrictions and the ban on large-scale gatherings led to a dramatic halt in 2020, causing widespread postponements and cancellations, such as Spain's Viña Rock and Primavera Sound. This resulted in substantial financial losses, with the Spanish live music industry alone suffering a 600 million euro shortfall.

Festivals adapted by moving online, engaging audiences on social media platforms with varying success. Investment in the performing arts sector, which includes festival organization, remained significant, with around 90 million euros invested in 2020 in Spain. Despite the crisis, the number of festivals in Spain grew to 917 in 2020, signalling resilience and the potential for recovery. As restrictions ease, the sector aims to bounce back, adapting to new consumer behaviors and safety expectations.

Resilience and Recovery: Trends in the Spanish Festival Market

In recent years, the Spanish festival market has seen a remarkable trajectory, with consistent growth being the norm until it met an unexpected challenge in the form of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite this, a blend of cultural vibrancy and the resilient nature of the industry has allowed for a strong rebound in the aftermath. Prior to the pandemic, the Spanish festival scene flourished, with particular note given to the music festival sector, which reached new heights by pulling in revenues amounting to approximately between €350 and €400 million. The sheer number of festivals increased by 66% from 2005 to 2020, indicating the sector's robust expansion, underpinned by growing public interest and the burgeoning appeal of cultural tourism. Music festivals take the spotlight in the Spanish arena with Catalonia, Andalusia, Madrid, and the Valencia region being the epicenters of festival activities. These regions not only captivate the local audience but also draw international crowds, thereby boosting foreign demand considerably. In fact, the rapid growth of this sector pushed Spain from a fifth-place ranking to the global leader in music festival tourism.

The festivals attract a diverse crowd, with the average spend per tourist hovering around €300, showcasing the willingness of patrons to invest in these cultural experiences. An analysis of audience demographics reveals that the music arts attract a fairly balanced gender representation, with a slight predominance of attendance by men. Moreover, the younger generation, particularly those under 24 years, show the highest attendance rates, which taper as age increases. Education level also plays a pivotal role, reflecting the trend that those with higher education levels are more likely to frequent these events. Despite the setback caused by COVID-19, the sector demonstrates resilience. Leveraging social networks, festival organizers explored novel approaches to reaching audiences, with a variety of online initiatives sprouting during the pandemic containment period. This adaptability underlines the sector's potential to evolve in the face of adversity. With a unique mesh of demographics ranging across various age groups and educational backgrounds, and a continuously robust demand from foreign tourists, the industry shows no signs of slowing down, firmly positioning itself for future growth and recovery.

Navigating the Melodic Waters: Key Players in the Festival Market Landscape

The vibrant tapestry of the festival market is intricately woven with a variety of key players. These entities not only shape the experiences that throngs of festival-goers cherish but also play crucial roles in framing the market dynamics at play.

  • Vivendi and Universal Music Group: At the apex of the music industry's hierarchy sits the colossal entity, Vivendi, with its subsidiary Universal Music Group. As a behemoth in the recording universe, Universal Music stretches its influence far beyond traditional records into the live festival scenes, leveraging its extensive catalogue of artists to prop up festival lineups with star-studded performers.
  • Sony Music: Another giant straddling the musical cosmos is Sony Music. With a plethora of signed artists across various genres, Sony is instrumental in populating festival stages. Their vested interest in promoting their artists means ensuring presence at key festivals and thereby influencing the festival market rosters.
  • Live Nation and Ticketmaster: Bridging the gap between anticipation and experience is Live Nation and its ticketing counterpart Ticketmaster. These firms are paramount to the festival framework, operating as the conduit through which fans secure access. Their grip on ticket distribution means they hold a pivotal role in the logistic execution and commercial success of festivals.
  • Eventbrite: Smaller in scale yet significant in impact, Eventbrite functions as an alternative ticketing platform that caters to a wide range of events, including niche and emerging festivals. Their role signifies the market's diverse nature, offering robust solutions for event discovery and ticketing.
  • Viagogo: Completing the ticketing triad, Viagogo offers a global marketplace for ticket resale. This player adds another layer to the ticketing ecosystem, affecting the accessibility and pricing dynamics of festival attendance.

The interplay between these influential entities—from music behemoths curating the soundscapes, to ticketing platforms controlling the gates—paints a vivid picture of the festival market's complex and lively nature. Through their respective domains, they determine not only what the market offers but also how fans engage with the festival experiences that resonate with rhythms and memories.

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and presentation

Festivals are events, gatherings that take place over one or several days and bring people together around a theme: music, art, entertainment or leisure. This study covers all types of festivals, focusing on music festivals, which represent the bulk of activity. Festivals are part of the broader market for cultural events, a market that has been particularly hard hit by the onset of the health crisis, before gradually recovering in 2021 and 2022.

At the European level, the festival market had grown by 65.22% between 2016 and 2019. Growth had been particularly strong from 2016 to 2018, before slowing down in 2019. Several factors can explain this slowdown: rising ticket prices, less renewed programming, as well as the success of smaller, more welcoming, less expensive festivals that put local artists in value. If we look at the biggest festivals in Europe, we find: Glastonbury, the sziget festival, Tomorrowland, or Creamfields and Ultra Europe.

In Spain, Catalonia hosts the most festivals, followed by Andalusia, Madrid and Valencia. The main music events are Primavera Sound, Medusa Sunbeach, Sonorama Ribera, Sónar and Rototom Sunsplash. The market was hit hard by the health crisis and the ban on large gatherings in 2020 and 2021, before recovering strongly in 2022.

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Estimating the music festival market in Europe
  • Classification of festivals by revenue
  • Sales trends for concerts and music festivals
  • Sales trends in creative, artistic and entertainment activities
  • Number of music festivals
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Latest news

Music: billions in the concert business - 04/01/2024
  • Taylor Swift has booked 149 concerts in 20 countries up to December 2024.
  • The singer is set to become the first music star to break the billion-dollar barrier
  • Before Covid, live music generated $21.5 billion worldwide.
  • By 2023, live music revenues are expected to exceed $28 billion, according to Goldman Sachs.
  • Live Nation, the world leader in the concert business, holds over 75% of worldwide ticket sales via its Ticketmaster platform.
  • In one year, Live Nation sold almost 120 million tickets worldwide.
  • The group can fill the equivalent of 1500 Stade de France with these ticket sales.
Vivendi demerger project well received - 14/12/2023
  • Vivendi climbs over 10% on the stock market following the announcement of its demerger project.
  • The operation involves the creation of three separate entities around Canal+, Havas and an investment company.
Vivendi reinvents its business model with the acquisition of Lagardère - 22/11/2023
  • Vivendi's annual sales will rise from 9.6 billion to 17 billion euros following the acquisition of the Lagardère group.
  • Vivendi's adjusted operating profit will rise from over 800 million euros to over 1.2 billion euros.
  • The number of Vivendi employees will increase from 38,000 to 66,000.
  • Vivendi sold Editis to International Media Invest for 653 million euros (including debt).
  • Vivendi owns 59.74% of the Lagardère group.
  • Other major shareholders in the Lagardère Group are Qatar Holding LLC (11.52%), Arnaud Lagardère (11.11%) and Financière Agache (7.97%).
Vivendi takes control of Lagardère: "A big change" - 22/11/2023
  • Vivendi officially takes control of Lagardère on November 21.
    Vivendi now holds 57.95% of Lagardère's capital and 50.50% of its voting rights.
  • Vivendi's sales rise from 9.6 billion euros to 16.5 billion.
  • International activities account for 63% of Vivendi's revenues (compared with 54% previously).
  • The number of Vivendi employees rises from 38,300 to 65,700.
  • Bernard Arnault holds a 7.7% stake in Lagardère via Financière Agache.
Vivendi plans to sell its festivals and ticketing business - 27/09/2023
  • Vivendi plans to sell its current music festivals and its See Tickets ticketing service.
  • The group controls 11 festivals in France and the UK.
  • The Garorock festival drew 150,000 festival-goers over the summer.
  • The Brive festival welcomed 43,000 fans and hopes to reach 50,000 by 2024.
  • Vivendi counts 400,000 festival-goers annually thanks to its various festivals.
  • See Tickets operates in ten European countries and the USA, with 25 million tickets sold in 2019, 27 million in 2021, and 39 million in 2022.
  • The part of the company that Vivendi plans to sell represents around 150 million euros in sales and has 600 employees.
  • Competitor Ticketmaster sold 500 million tickets in 70 countries in the previous year.
  • Should See Tickets be sold, this would mark the disappearance of the last major French player in the ticketing sector, with Germany's CTS Eventim holding 65% of France Billet (FNAC Darty group) and Ticketmaster owned by Live Nation since 2010.
Concerts: France remains the cheapest country, but international stars are going through the roof - 20/06/2023
  • change in ticket prices from 2019 to 2023: +13.6
  • Increase in top ticket prices for Zenith halls, arenas and stadiums (2022-2023): +18% (seating capacity over 6,000) and +23% (stadiums)
  • Highest ticket prices: 70 euros (capacity over 6,000) and 137 euros (stadiums)
  • Global stars' fees: 149 euros on average (premium category) vs. 106 for French-speaking artists
  • Increase in first prices for venues with 1,500 to 6,000 seats: +22% (23 euros)
  • Comparison of international tour prices in Europe and the U.S.: for example, Muse in 2023 - France: 62 euros, Switzerland: 140 euros, U.S.: 115 euros
  • price differential for premium categories:
    • Madonna - France: 650 euros, England: 1,124 euros, United States: 2,555 euros;
    • Beyoncé - France: 450 euros, Germany: 499 euros, United States: 982 euros
  • Prices for festivals with more than 30,000 spectators per day:
    • France: less than 80 euros, England: 118 euros, Spain: 125 euros, Belgium: 127 euros.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Sony Music Italia
Live Nation France

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