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Gen Z Artists, Rising Ticket Prices + More: Music Industry Predictions For 2024

8 January 2024 | 1:31 pm | Christie Eliezer

If 2023 proved to be a year where the long tail of COVID still created ups and downs for the Australian music industry, what will 2024 bring?

Coldplay in Perth

Coldplay in Perth (Credit: Anna Lee)

If 2023 proved to be a year where the long tail of COVID still created ups and downs for the Australian music industry, what will 2024 bring?

1. Concert Ticket Prices Will Continue To Rise

Concert ticket prices will continue to rise following a 53 percent escalation in the last two years, according to Live Performance Australia’s 2022 Ticket Attendance And Revenue Report, published in December 2023.

Live entertainment fans in Victoria will probably continue to fork out the most, with an average spend of $102.08 a ticket. The state had the biggest growth in Australia between 2021 and 2022, with revenue up by 333.3 percent to a record $684.4 million, and attendance up by 231.2 percent to a record 7.9 million.

On average, each person in NSW spent $82.07 on concert tickets. NSW has the second highest market share, with ticket revenue up 211.3 percent to $676.1 million, and attendance up by 178.5 percent to 7.3 million.

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2. Live Sector Will Grow But Small And Medium Sectors Will Struggle

The Ticket Attendance And Revenue Report showed the total revenue for 2022 at $2 billion, while ticketed attendance hit 24.2 million. It was the second highest recorded attendance and revenue since the report started in 2004. Of all artforms, contemporary music performed best.

But one-sector will find it a particularly tough. Live Performance Australia CEO Evelyn Richardson warned, “Many parts of the industry are being impacted by ‘long COVID’ and grappling with critical workforce shortages, soaring production and touring costs, and shifts in audience behaviour alongside deepening cost of living pressures. These problems are particularly acute for some sectors of live performance, especially our small to medium and not-for-profit companies.”

3. Spotify, Apple Music, Increase Money Paid To Artists

With global music streaming on its way to a forecast value of $35.1 billion by 2028, Spotify and Apple Music will put into effect ways to increase pay for musicians.

Spotify will tackle three core issues from Q1 2024. These are to “further deter artificial streaming”,  “better distribute small payments that aren’t reaching artists,” and “rein in those attempting to game the system with noise”.

Addressing these, it says, can drive “an additional $1 billion in revenue toward emerging and professional artists over the next five years”.

A big change is that a track must reach 1,000 streams within 12 months before it can generate recorded royalties – and “99.5 percent of all streams are of tracks that have at least 1,000 annual streams, and each of those tracks will earn more under this policy.”

Spotify claims “tens of millions” of its 80 million tracks “have been streamed between one and 1,000 times over the past year and, on average, those tracks generated $0.03 per month”.

“Because labels and distributors require a minimum amount to withdraw (usually $2-$50 per withdrawal),” the company continued, “and banks charge a fee for the transaction (usually $1-$20 per withdrawal), this money often doesn’t reach the uploaders. And these small payments are often forgotten about.”

These “disregarded payments” made up $40 million in 2022 alone, which “could instead increase the payments to artists who are most dependent on streaming revenue”.

Apple Music is to announce plans to increase royalties for streams produced in the Spatial Audio format. Despite early criticism it was a “hit and miss”, the format has been a hit with its consumers since Apple introduced it in June 2021 with “thousands” of tracks.

In its first year, monthly plays in Spatial Audio soared by over 1,000 percent, with over 80 percent of Apple Music subscribers adopting it.

4. More Festivals Catch Up With Technology

With more people heading to festivals (they bought a total of 1.1 million tickets according to Ernst & Young in 2014), more festivals will expand on the technology used to keep punters safe or have things run smoothly and with fun. This includes flying drones that monitor the size and movement of the crowd, and get to the site’s fences in seconds while security takes minutes.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) wristbands have been used for attendance tracking, restricting access to backstage and VIP areas, cashless payment, and social media integration to share experiences and connect with new friends. Expect more uptake as new RFID technology improves read range and accuracy, and integration with other wearable devices like smart watches and fitness trackers.

New Augmented Reality services would include a festival’s own metaverses, artists showcasing their vision to fans’ smartphones, a compass to show landmarks on the site and nearby areas, and Friend Find to catch up with mates.

Widening 5G connections in regional areas will end customer frustration over dodgy mobile calls, and more digital bills where an act can phone in their set or have a guest singer or musician join in from overseas. Last year, Glastonbury’s technology partner EE saw a 93 percent increase in data usage onsite – equivalent to eight billion Instagram posts.

5. Music Marketing To Focus On Superfans

Some fans are more equal than others, and the biz will prioritise even more resources on building communities with them and offering exclusive privileges.

Superfans are harder to reach for brands, so expect greater visibility at festivals – particularly products which immediately identify and extend punters’ personalities, with pop-up tents, trials and post-festival digital interactions.

An Acast study from December found that 55 percent of Australian marketers plan to advertise in podcasts. Again, this is where to reach superfans. Podcasts reach 9.2 million Australians every month, most of them in the 18-to-24-year-old and 25-to-39-year-old age groups, while TikTok has driven the 12-to-17 group to podcasts at a growth rate of 36 percent.

Marketers find that they more accurately target age groups than streaming services and radio. Podcast listeners are also considered more loyal because of their niche nature.

6. The Rise Of Gen Z Music Artists

With Gen Z audiences (born between 1997 and 2012) reshaping the music industry from streaming playlists to stadium designs, expect to see the next generation of Gen Z music heroes.

Like the earlier Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X and Olivia Rodrigo, they will mix and match styles (who knows, maybe come up with a new genre?). 40 percent of Gen Z listeners rate hip-hop and rap as their favourite styles. They’ll use their platforms for social justice and activism, must be regarded as “real”, and most likely emerge first on TikTok and be on an indie label because they want as much control over their creativity as possible.

We may get a greater sense of Gen Z music acts if we look at Gen Z visual artists: they have an affinity for the colour blue and post-production editing, are challenging and being open about social taboos, and are all about expressing their heritage and community.

7. More State-Driven “Exclusives”

Expect other states and territories to replicate Victoria’s ALWAYS LIVE initiative and WA’s exclusive Coldplay shows. Both were considerable tourism boosts.

ALWAYS LIVE, launched in 2022 with a budget of $13.5 million, offered exclusive shows from internationals like Billy Joel, Christina Aguilera, Foo Fighters and Zach Bryan, and exposed emerging and regional acts over 17 days. 43 percent of ticket buyers were from outside Victoria and brought in $80 million to the state.

The WA Government paid Coldplay a rumoured $10 million for two exclusive Perth shows in mid-November 2023. Of the 134,000 fans who flocked to Optus Stadium, 40,000 came from intestate and 8,000 from abroad. The shows reportedly generated between $75 million and $80 million.

The WA Government looks certain to follow up as it seems to have public support. A Tourism Council WA survey conducted two weeks after the Coldplay shows found that 67 percent of 800 respondents agreed with the investment.

8. AI To Change Record Deals

The “normalisation” of Artificial Intelligence in the music industry will see a push for legal constraints through 2024, and record companies and artists will take another look at their deals with each other.

Some artists are embracing AI’s opportunities, for example encouraging others to duplicate their voices. But as Billboard pointed out, the problem is that these artists don’t own the rights to their own vocals from past albums – even if they are out of the deal – which means labels can take action against such projects even if the artist is cool with it.

Most major label deals have exclusive rights to the artist’s name, likeness and voice. Billboard suggested that in 2024, more contracts will be updated to address the use of these for AI-related projects. A draft proposal drawn up in the US, called NO FAKES (“Nurture Originals, Foster Art, and Keep Entertainment Safe”), aims to give creatives the legal right to take action against those who digitally replicate their “image, voice, or likeness.”

The Australian Government is establishing a copyright and AI reference group to look at how AI should be transparent, ways to protect copyright, and even when AI-generated works should be given copyright protection. An alliance of 22 creator and creative economy organisations – including APRA, ARIA, AIR and AMPAL – urged the need to come up with “clear guidelines to stop the proliferation of unauthorized copying of creator intellectual property. AI is another development of computer science, subject to the same ethical and legal requirements as any other business.”