20% of Music Venues Received No Federal Assistance During Quarantine

A new report from Billboard states that 20% of independent music venues received no federal assistance to keep their properties afloat during the height of the pandemic. There was a total of $8 billion distributed to just over 10,400 venues. The rest were denied without explanation.

The United States Small Business Administration received 15,429 applications for the Federal Shuttered Venue Operations grant. The grant was established after the creation of the #SaveOurStages movement which aimed to attract the government’s attention to the peril that these businesses were facing. The movement gained popularity after statistics were released in late October that 90% of independent music venues across the country were at risk of closing permanently, with an estimated 300 already shuttered before the end of 2020.

The Federal Shuttered Venue Operations grant was allocated $16 Billion to distribute to independent venues. Many venues were rejected without explanation or actionable recourse. When a venue received notice that they were rejected for funding, papers showed a generic “Eligibility matrix,” including “Common reasons an entity is found ineligible [for the grant].” As of now, the United States Small Business Administration has declined further comment.

live nation

Live Nation Lists 16x More Events in Second Quarter of 2021 Than In 2020

Coming off of a dry concert season last year, Live Nation is experiencing “pent-up demand” for live events. In Q2 of 2021 there were approximately 1,600 events created which was a 16x increase over the same period in 2020.

Live Nation’s SEC filing from this week shows the company earned $575.9 Million in show revenues solely from the second quarter of this year. This is up 677% from Q2 of 2020 which saw only $74.1 Million in revenue. Concert revenue growth is also up by 102% at $287 Million in Q2 of this year in comparison to $141.8 Million in Q2 of 2020. In terms of the number of fans buying tickets, there were 50,000 fans buying tickets between April-June of 2020. From April-June of 2021, there were 1.3 Million fans buying tickets, with fans in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific being the largest purchasers. 

The number of ticket purchasers drove Live Nation to $244 Million in ticket revenue for Quarter 2 of 2021, an increase from only $87 Million in the same quarter of 2020. There were 30 Million tickets sold in Q2 of 2021, a 15x increase from 2020’s 2 Million sales. Live Nation and Ticketmaster expect sales to continue increasing as even more events will be announced in the upcoming months. 

Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino has stated that June of 2021 was Ticketmaster’s 4th best selling month in terms of ticket volume in the company’s history. As more festivals and tours are announced, the two live event companies are rightfully expecting high-profitability and full-scale operations to continue in 2022.

Live Nation Purchases Live Streaming Platform Veeps

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Spotify Tests $.99/month Subscription Plan

Spotify confirmed with The Verge this week that the company is testing a 99-cent subscription plan with a small group of users. The subscription plan, called Spotify Plus, will offer users an unlimited number of skips and on-demand listening. These features are two of the biggest concerns that turn ad-supported streamers into premium members. 

However, there’s still a big catch; the $.99 plan will still play ads between songs. Additionally, the description of Spotify Plus lists nothing about downloads, meaning if you wish to listen to your favorite songs while disconnected from wifi, you will need to purchase one of Spotify’s 4 other premium plans. Those being $9.99 to use one premium account, $12.99 Duo plan for two premium accounts, $15.99 Family plan which can link up to 6 premium accounts, or, if you are a college student, a $4.99 plan for one account and access to ad-supported memberships with Hulu and Showtime. All plans are billed monthly. 

There is no current information on how this new subscription model will impact the amount of money musicians can make from the amount of streams their music earns on the platform. Today, Spotify classifies 1,250 streams from premium accounts and 3,750 streams from ad-supported accounts to count as one album sale. With the $.99/month plan, the price of membership is only 10% of what it costs to be an individual premium account. This would likely make the number of streams to classify as an album sale stay at 3,750, but the company has yet to comment. 

What we do know for now is that the Spotify Plus does exist, but for a very small group of participants. The company is also testing a variety of price points for the service. Spotify told The Verge that there is no current plan to roll-out the new model nation-wide, but their research is still ongoing.

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