To say the least, 2020 went quite differently than how we envisioned the year to go. Most of us were anticipating going to one or more live music events during the spring and summer, whether that’s a show or a festival. Unfortunately, almost all live events were forced to be canceled or postponed in the United States since March. The nine months of hiatus cost the industry billions of dollars in revenue.
To be exact, the industry lost over $30 billion. This figure is from the year-end-report that Pollstar, a concert trade publication, had released recently. In 2020, the live events business was expected to hit a record of $12.2 billion in revenue, but instead incurred $9.7 billion in losses.
The projected loss of $30+ billion includes unreported events, ancillary revenues, including sponsorships, ticketing, concessions, merch, transportation, restaurants, hotels, and other related economic activities.
During these last couple months of 2020, socially distanced shows and drive-in concerts were put on to try to bring back live events. Drive-in shows accounted for 49% of all events that occurred after March 15 and grossed $18 million with 434,418 attendees. Although the efforts were somewhat successful in driving revenue, the figures were still drastically different from pre-COVID statistics.
As the year comes to an end, we can only wish for 2021 to be a better year. However, things are looking up so far. COVID-19 vaccinations are slowly becoming approved for rollout. Hopefully that means that live events can return to normal some time in the new year.