The global live events industry has lost more than $30 billion this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from Variety. That figure includes $9.7 billion at the box office.
At the start of the year, the industry was expected to reach $12.2 billion in box office sales, which would have been a new record. But the industry effectively shut down in March when stay-at-home orders were enacted.
The $30 billion in losses includes unreported events, ancillary revenues, including sponsorship, ticketing, concessions, merch, transportation, restaurants, hotels and other economic activity tied to live events, according to an end-of-year report from Pollstar.
“It’s been an extraordinarily difficult year for the events industry, which has been disproportionately impacted by the Coronavirus. As painful as it is to chronicle the adversity and loss our industry and many of our colleagues faced, we understand it is a critical undertaking towards facilitating our recovery, which is thankfully on the horizon,” said Ray Waddell, president of Oak View Group’s Media & Conferences Division, according to Variety. “With vaccines, better testing, new safety and sanitization protocols, smart ticketing and other innovations, the live industry will be ramping up in the coming months, and we’re sure that at this time next year we’ll have a very different story to tell.”
The entertainment industry as a whole has suffered greatly in 2020 due to the pandemic. In June, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), which owns the Coachella music festival, launched a series of layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts that affected about 15 percent of the workforce. Live Nation, which is the only live entertainment company larger than AEG in the U.S., saw its stock drop by 50 percent when the pandemic hit. Michael Rapino, Live Nation’s CEO, in May proposed $500 million in cuts this year, including cuts to his own salary and furloguhing 20 percent of the company’s staff.
A study released in June from the National Independent Venue Association reported that 90 percent of live music venues in the U.S. could permanently close if shutdowns persisted for six or more months and they don’t receive aid from the government.
Sony Music’s live show income has dropped 38.8 percent to $82.6 million this year. Warner Music Group in August posted $519 in net losses and overall revenue down by 4.5 percent compared to last year. In August, StubHub announced they would close several international offices, after previously furloughing 67 percent of its workforce.
Other areas of the music industry besides live entertainment have seen some success in 2020. Sony Music saw its streaming revenue reach $1.282 billion in the first half of this year, up from $1.109 billion in the same time period in 2019. Warner Music Group’s digital revenue also grew by 11.1 percent.
Gibson, Fender, Taylor and Martin have all seen increases in revenue this year. After Gibson filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018, 2020 has brought Fender their most sales in a single year in the company’s history. The companies credited the pandemic giving people more time to pick up the instrument as the cause for their success.
Featured image: Brett Padelford