Concerts Down, Private Parties Up - How pandemic reshaping the income streams for artists

Sasha Rider • сент. 3, 2020


According to the Events Industry Council and Oxford Economics, the global business events industry was estimated in 2017 to have generated a total of $2.5 trillion worth of business sales. In addition, it has enriched the global GDP with $1.5 trillion. This field alone was responsible for the employment of 26 million people throughout the globe. But remember, this was three years ago. Imagine how much the industry has grown since then, and what the total loss should be in 2020.

The global music industry is worth over $50 billion, with two major income streams. The first, live music, makes up over 50% of total revenues and is derived mainly from sales of tickets to live performances.

The second, recorded music, combines revenue from streaming, digital downloads, physical sales and synchronization revenues (licensing of music for movies, games, TV and advertising). Recorded music today is close to the industry’s pre-piracy peak, a testament to the growing adoption of streaming services by both music labels and consumers. Streaming now makes up almost half of recorded music revenue.

New ways to engage with fans and monetize


In the initial wake of bans on mass gatherings, some venues offered livestreaming of performances. However, even these formats have been suspended as those sites have closed. Now, artists are going direct to fans from their own homes, using services like Twitch, Instagram TV and others. This is not new, but the pandemic has expanded the audience available, and record labels are facilitating it by providing live streaming equipment to performers. Streaming platforms have also enabled new monetization methods, including memberships to artist channels that allow early or exclusive access to content, as well as virtual gatherings and paid-commenting features.

Private Events

Event though it's still officially prohibited to do a large gatherings for social events there are some loosening on restrictions in certain states, and loopholes that event organizers and artists alike are taking advantage of to do events like small weddings, birthday celebrations, anniversaries and even a corporate events in a socially distanced settings.

At the end of the day people are tired of these restrictions and simply want to have some fun and celebrate their life events.

Shortage in live entertainment in US and Canada have actually increased the demand for private events performers, and it appears that many singers, dj's, musicians and catering companies are more in demand than they were before, as one local DJ from New York area that we spoke with noted:

My calendar is booked solid for the next three monts, and requests just keep on coming. Moreover i've had to turn down some gigs and refer my colleagues to the clients, cause i am so busy right now. This increase in demand made me raise my prices, and clients seems to be ok with that, cause we all miss that feeling of getting together after so many months in isolation.

Other, bigger name artists, seems to be also performing on private events, high class weddings and fundraisers to keep themselves busy.

Once the industry starts to reopen on a large scale and massive live events, concerts and festivals will go on again we will be able to judge whether it will be a lasting trend or just a temporary fad due to supply shortage.

Merchandise and Donations

Since the pandemic started in March online sales went up 30%, and merchandise sales by the artists account for a part of those sales. Consumers still have the emotional attachment to the artists and willing to support them in tough times through purchasing their music, merchandise or simply donating.

Maintaining adaptable monetization strategies may open new avenues for the artists to work with other sectors in the future. For example, gaming and TV integrate songs, compositions and musical scores into their content – but these synchronization revenues currently account for only 2% of recorded music revenue. The business frameworks for synchronization deals are currently underdeveloped, so there is an opportunity for growth – even if it is a long way from reaching a comparable share of revenue to streaming.


There are many monetization tactics for the good artists to take advantage of that will lead to even more prosperous future when the live events industry will re-open.