Paul Davies
Category Director - (UK Reports), Leisure, Travel and Foodservice

During periods of lockdown the consumption of live entertainment was consigned to the home, as artists and organisers developed online or virtual alternatives to in-person events in an effort to continue to reach fans. As business returns to normal and with Glastonbury around the corner, we examine 3 ways that event organisers can continue using technology to enhance the concert-going experience for fans.

1. Step into the metaverse with XR

The use of extended reality (XR, including VR and AR) is now being explored to provide fans with more immersive experiences, as identified by Mintel’s Global Consumer Trend Enjoyment Everywhere. One of the most interesting examples of this saw American DJ Porter Robinson’s 2021 Secret Sky festival transport viewers into a virtual crowd, with each represented by an avatar that identified their physical location. This allowed attendees to strike up conversations and even dance in VR! This could provide the blueprint for future concerts and festivals to take place in the metaverse, with Mintel’s research showing that one in five US adults would be interested in attending a virtual event in the metaverse. Younger consumers aged 16-34 are even more likely to be motivated by novelty and variation, whether it be to enjoy new experiences or to meet new people. Event organisers should respond to this desire for new, varied and exciting experiences by organising gigs that offer a sense of the unknown, as well as start to consider ways they can create live events in the metaverse.

Source: Getty Images. Online concerts are here to stay after the pandemic, but various virtual opportunities are still yet to be fully explored.

2. New immersive venues appeal to consumers’ desire for escapism

Companies are looking to develop new entertainment venues that speak to consumers’ desire for escapism through delivering more immersive experiences than ever before. Perhaps the most exciting of these is the proposed MSG Sphere venue planned for Stratford, London. Designed by MSG Entertainment, the company behind Madison Square Gardens, this “state-of-the-art” music and entertainment venue promises next-generation immersive experiences thanks to the use of the world’s largest and highest resolution LED screen, adaptive acoustics and haptic technology (3D touch) to allow gig goers to “feel the experience”. The venue, which has received full planning permission, would be London’s largest multi-use arena with capacity for 21,500 people. As technological enhancements in the livestreaming sector allow fans to feel as if they are getting up close and personal with artists, this will put pressure on venues to deliver a higher quality experience and atmosphere.

Source: MSG Sphere London. The venue features cutting-edge technologies that enable the creation of transformative, immersive experiences.

3. Connect with fans and create personalised experiences

Music event organisers and promoters have opportunities to engage with fans via the use of technology throughout the customer journey, starting with alerting them about tickets going on sale, all the way through to allowing them to buy items using contactless wristbands at concerts and festivals. Nearly 8 in 10 music event goers would like to get alerts when tickets go on sale and 7 in 10 would like to be notified about changes to schedules and events via an app. Meanwhile a majority of fans would be interested in using a contactless wristband to make payments at concerts/festivals, and the same proportion would like to use an app to help navigate a venue. Wearable tech is no longer just for the tech-obsessed as more people realise the benefits relating to its convenience and security. Some software companies work with event organisers to deliver information to concert and festival attendees via an app, whilst also enabling users to personalise their feed. In this perspective, personalisation works both ways, as its data and analytics functionality also allows event organisers to learn more about customer behaviour and tailor communications accordingly. Organisers could use customer information to create customised offers on food, drink and merchandise during the festival, whilst also linking them up to relevant event sponsors.

Source: Glastonbury Festival. Organisers launched an app to “allow users to stay connected with the latest live Festival updates, navigate their way around the 900-acre site and even create their own personalised line-ups”.

What we think

Whilst participation in attending in-person music events is likely to surpass livestreaming participation in 2022 and dominate the sector’s revenue stream, consumers’ motivations for livestreaming events indicate that the technology will continue to have a key role to play in the market post-pandemic. As more people will be forced to consider cheaper alternatives to attending in-person, the music sector should continue to explore innovative ways to engage with consumers through livestreaming. They can also explore ways to increase the value of these experiences, such as through offering limited edition merchandise or behind-the-scenes access to those paying extra.