During a recent call with investors pertaining to their Q3 2020 earnings, the CFO of Eventbrite, Lanny Baker, explained how digital events continue to impact the live music industry. Citing dramatic increases to digital event ticket sales before the pandemic, Baker detailed the growth and made note of potential opportunities for virtual shows in the future.
"When the in-person events have recovered and people have moved from their computer screens back into the real world, we’ve seen that next shift back, but we’re still talking about 10%, 20%, 30% of ticket volume being for virtual events. Whereas pre-Covid, that number might have been 2%, 3% or 4%," he said. "So I think there’s been a structural opening of a business opportunity and habit around online events."
It's been reported that in the third quarter, about 30% of Eventbrite's ticket sales were for digital events. Due to the significant growth and rise of new creators, he believes that these events have the potential to stick around even as the impact of the pandemic wanes.
Unsurprisingly, most of the world is still facing a live music shutdown, aside from "COVID-friendly" events like drive-in or pod shows. However, some countries that successfully contained the virus locally have gotten back to regularly scheduled programming. In the Eventbrite earnings call, Baker noted that physical event sales have increased last quarter partially due to these countries.
Considering how long we've been in the pandemic, it's hard to imagine life without the virus as most of our routines have drastically changed. While Eventbrite executives are optimistic about the future of digital events post-COVID, it's worth wondering how many people will choose to attend a livestreamed concert over an in-person one when it's safe to do so. It could be argued that there's room for both, but the key question revolves around how many fans truly enjoy computer screen concerts or are simply consuming them since it's the only truly safe live music option right now. There are definite benefits to virtual events—like the ability to perform to fans anywhere in the world at the same time—but one must ask if artists will even be willing to take shows online after physical stages return.
Source: IQ Magazine