Believe it or not, concert economies are booming more than ever in the history of live music performances, with the biggest example being the Eras tour by Taylor Swift. The tour began on March 17th, 2023, in the US and is set to conclude in October 2024 if there are no more additions to the tour dates. With the current projections, Taylor Swift has surpassed 2 Billion USD in mere ticket sales in her first leg of the North American tour. But live music is not all that is offered at a concert. Another off-spin business of these concerts is that of selling official merchandise at the venues. Until November 2023, Taylor Swift has reportedly made more than 200 million dollars (USD) from her merchandise sales. But Swift isn’t the sole benefactor in terms of monetary gains. Artists like Beyonce, Adele, Ed Sheeran, and many more attract people from all over the country, even across countries a lot of times. An average person attending the Eras tour concert spends around 1300 USD on travel, food, accommodation and transport, apart from spending on the tickets. Apart from the personal gain of watching your idol perform live, live music concerts have proven to boost your mental health by reducing stress and anxiety. It has been found that live music makes your brain release endorphins that work towards lifting your mood.
Businesses of local hotels and restaurants are reportedly booming at the arrival of such artists. This particular sector of tourism is called “music tourism,” which suggests the flow of people from one place to another to attend live music festivals or concerts. In India, cities like Mumbai, which have witnessed the performances of innumerable names from the Hollywood music industry, also reap the benefits that concerts provide them with. Coldplay announced their international tour dates last year in July, and since India was not on their list of countries to visit, many Indians flew out to South-Asian countries like Thailand and Singapore to catch a glimpse of their favourite artists. A survey reported a 556% hike in hotel searches online for Coldplay’s performance in Singapore. Besides supporting hotel chains, concerts like these have also been successful in creating temporary jobs for the locals, increasing the demand for flexible labour in the local market. This can be divided into two sections, onsite jobs, which consist of security, janitors, maintenance, etc. and offsite jobs at the aforementioned hotel and restaurant chains.
But an event of such a huge scale is bound to create disruptions in some way or the other. Environmental impacts of a concert include the rise of trash at the venue (props, single-use plastics, etc.), the creation of enormous carbon footprints by individuals participating in the event, and the colossal use of electricity used in the technical production. Notably, Coldplay is pioneering environmentally friendly concerts across the globe, with their ‘Music Of The Spheres World Tour’. Their concerts are fueled by renewable energy sources, like kinetic dancing floors, hydrotreated-vegetable oil and solar energy. The kinetic dance floors convert the energy from their dancing fans to electricity, which also powers their concert. Coldplay is not only mindful of their eco-friendly choices at their venue but also of their transportation. Hydrotreated-vegetable oil, a biofuel produced from renewable raw materials, is used to power their vehicles during transportation. The band has also taken a pledge to plant one tree per ticket with lifelong protection to reduce its carbon footprint. They distribute and recollect the LED wristbands that fans wear during the concert, which are made from 100% plant-based material. Even the confetti used during the show is made from 100% biodegradable material. The band has also collaborated with companies like Green Nation and Hope Solutions, which help them assess their impact on the environment and use renewable energy sources only throughout their tours.
Coldplay is leading by example in the ways a concert can be a true celebration with minimal consequences on its surroundings. Given the recent rise in live music festivals and concerts, environmental costs need to be taken into account by other giants like Taylor Swift so that the aftermath of a concert for the city is not only positive in terms of monetary gains but also in terms of minimal impact on its surroundings. Releasing reports and taking the help of professionals is the first step that can be taken by other artists with influential impacts to reduce their carbon footprints and raise awareness about the same. With the rise of awareness and development in the latest technology, the music industry is set to become one of the most influential sectors of the economy.