Two extremes are reflected in the concert industry: The concert ticket provider Ticketmaster stopped advance sales for Taylor Swift’s (33) US stadium tour because too many fans wanted to get a ticket. On Twitter, Ticketmaster wrote of a “historically unprecedented” demand. The British star Ed Sheeran (31) also played in sold-out stadiums in 2022.

On the other hand, the German band Tocotronic, the indie singer “Das Paradies” or the Kölsch rock band Kasalla are canceling their concerts because of insufficient ticket sales. So how is the industry really doing – will only superstars sell out their shows going forward? One expert advises organizers to rethink concerts instead of complaining about half-full halls – another counters.

How the industry is really doing

According to the President of the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry, Jens Michow, the few sold-out events give the wrong impression: “All concerts and tours with national artists that were only planned this year are going far worse than before the crisis.” This also included concerts by national top acts.

In addition, according to Michow, not only the fans are missing, but also employees and self-employed specialists in the field of sound and lighting technology or among the construction or security personnel. “This is mainly due to the fact that many have migrated to other sectors due to the lack of prospects in the event industry over the past three years.”

The futurologist Ulrich Reinhardt agrees with Michow with regard to the half-full halls. Fewer and fewer people go to concerts and spend their free time more and more passively, he says. “There are numerous reasons for this, ranging from an attractive range of media to the after-effects of Corona. There is currently financial uncertainty as well.” Reinhardt’s colleague Horst Opaschowski takes a similar view. In his opinion, a return to the old cultural life is only possible with a new generation – “who may no longer even know what a corona crisis was.”

Does something have to change?

The two futurologists agree: People will not return to the way they spent their free time before the pandemic. “And that’s a good thing, because the range of leisure activities has to continue to develop, after all it’s always been that way,” adds Reinhardt. In addition, it is worth thinking about new ways of organizing concerts instead of just whining. For many it is enough just to see the idols virtually. Almost every artist is active on social media today, where the fans can feel closer to their idols than at a concert, says Reinhardt.

The psychologist Leon Windscheid holds against it. Humans are a hypersocial species that have existed for around 300,000 years. Digitization, on the other hand, has only been part of society for a few decades. “Does anyone think that our social being was made for us to take place together in the digital world? Absolutely not,” says Windscheid of the dpa. “I think that if you look so pessimistically at something that has been a cultural asset for thousands of years, then you are ruining something that is a core human need.”

In addition, the human brain is malleable. “If we can train ourselves to be afraid of being with people in two years of a pandemic, then we can unlearn it again,” explains the psychologist, who has been on stage with live shows for several years and is also currently doing so is touring with a new program. He is not affected by poor ticket sales.

What the situation is doing to affected artists

According to Windscheid, it is a massive attack on the artist’s personality when the applause suddenly stops. Of course, some of those affected also lose their income, after all, they earn their money with concerts, among other things.

Rapper Alan Julian Asare-Tawiah aka Ahzumjot recently wrote in an Instagram post: “I was often very close to canceling the tour. The preparations were exhausting, the calculations frustrating, the atmosphere tense. Going on tour is becoming more and more a privilege for the really big acts.”

But work is more than just earning a living, it also gives structure, says Windscheid. Work is something people do out of an inner drive. “I would assume that most of them can imagine that artists in particular might also have a special drive,” the psychologist continues. “Especially those who are doing cabaret and are at the beginning of their careers are now doubly cut because they already have the financial problems from the pandemic and may never have been able to build up the large reserves.”

A look to the future

Michow’s view of the future is anything but optimistic: “Overall, the industry assumes that the situation must be expected to worsen again in 2023. We do not expect a recovery trend until the end of 2023 at the earliest,” says the President of the Federal Association of concert and event industry. Leon Windscheid, on the other hand, is confident: “I believe that people know this value and this joy, which they all still have in their memories, from coming together in rooms, from real shared emotions, not from other stupid emojis or online applause.” He thinks the idea that artists now have to switch to digital is completely the wrong approach.

The futurologists Opaschowski and Reinhardt are of the opinion that the events should be adapted. Nevertheless, Reinhardt emphasizes: “In addition to the actual performance on stage, the social component also counts at concerts.”

Tweet Ticketmaster Tocotronic Facebook post Ahzumjot Instagram post Ahzumjot Cancellation of Paradies Instagram post Website Leon Windscheid