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From Stream to Ticket:

Mapping the Value of Music Discovery

There’s an ongoing debate about the future of the music industry—and a central issue revolves around how people’s changing consumption habits are affecting revenue for artists.

Case in point: per capita spend on CDs and digital downloads fell from $35 in 2008 to $18 in 2014.1 However, per capita spend on live music grew from $29 in 2008 to $48 in 2014.2

Though it may look bleak for album sales alone, it’s promising news for the music industry at large because concert-goers are more profitable–by a long shot–to the industry than a fan who just buys an album and skips the show.

Fans that buy concert tickets are worth more. They spend nearly twenty times as much on music (including tickets) than non-ticket buyers: $276 compared to $15.

They spend four times as much on CDs and downloads, 10 times as much on merchandise, and are nearly twice as likely to pay for a music subscription.3

As a platform that has ticketed more than 165,000 music events to date, Eventbrite has experienced first-hand the rapid growth of concerts and festivals. So we set out to understand the link between music discovery and live concert attendance.

In partnership with independent research company MusicWatch, Inc. we conducted a nationwide survey of 1,000 people between the ages of 18-49 who have attended at least one concert in the past year. We analyzed the results by grouping fans according to the primary channels they use to discover new music and uncovered how post-discovery behavior is helping drive incremental spending in live music.

Top channels cited for music discovery:



Including TV, Radio, Word of Mouth



Including Youtube, Pandora, Spotify



Including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr



Saw an artist perform at a live show,
concert or festival

Numbers do not add up to 100% because the majority of people discover through multiple channels.

Source: From Stream to Ticket: Mapping the Value of Music Discovery, Eventbrite Custom Study 2015.

Has the advent of social media and streaming services turned traditional discovery on its head, driving listeners to the live show rather than the record or iTunes store? Let’s take a look at streaming first.

Streaming music drives concert attendance

Streaming services are on the rise, with participation growing from 56% of the Internet population in 2012 to 69% in 2014.4 As a result, streaming services have become a major source of music discovery: when asked how they found new artists and bands in the past year, 42 percent of survey respondents cited audio or video streaming services like Pandora, Spotify and YouTube. And with new streaming services brought to market by key players ranging from Apple to Jay Z, this trend isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.

There’s understandable concern throughout the industry that streaming-induced discovery will merely lead to more streaming, especially as physical and digital sales decline. But fortunately for artists, that’s simply not the case. Half of the fans that find a new artist or band through streaming are buying tickets to their show.


Buy tickets to see artists they discover through streaming


Attend two or more shows
per month

Social media amplifies ticket sales

The music-curious aren’t just leaning on streaming services to find new sounds. Two out of three respondents say they discover a lot of music they like on social networks, and 14 percent mentioned learning about entirely new artists and bands on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tumblr.

After seeing friends post about music, people don’t just listen to the tracks—they take the leap from online to offline and actually buy tickets to shows.


Buy tickets to see artists they discover through social media


Attend two or more shows
per month

Part of this is because friends don’t let friends hit shows alone. The other part is thanks to FOMO, “Fear of Missing Out,” which helps drive ticket purchases and concert attendance. At Eventbrite, we’ve seen that a single Facebook share drives an incremental $4.48 in ticket sales for our music event organizers.

It’s clear that nothing can replace the exhilaration of a live show, especially when you know all your friends are there.

Guess what else drives FOMO?

Guess what else
drives FOMO?

Turns out, live streaming of events also fans the FOMO flames. Sure, people can now enjoy live concerts from the comfort of their couch, but faraway fans aren’t just watching shows passively in their slippers—they’re engaging online. A recent Eventbrite study on 20 million conversations about music festivals shows 23% of those posts came from people participating remotely—totaling over four million updates from fans missing out.

After Coachella live-streamed the festival in 2011, ticket sales went through the roof (or should we say, through the Sahara tent?). And the trend isn’t just a fringe thing: 70% of live streaming participants say they are more likely to attend a future live event after participating in the experience online.

Concerts create the most valuable fans

While radio and TV remain the largest forms of discovery, the 8% of people who say they discover new artists while at a concert, show, or music festival are significantly more likely to purchase a ticket to see them perform again later. Just goes to show, there’s nothing like the real thing, baby.


Buy tickets to see artists that they first discovered at a live show or festival


Attend two or more shows
per month

Fans who learn about new artists at live events are nearly two times as likely to buy artist merchandise. Fostering discovery at shows has the potential to build a larger pool of revenue for artists.

Moving from linear to mixed discovery drives spend

Moving from linear
to mixed discovery drives spend

While linear forms of discovery like radio-to-consumer are still very much alive, music discovery today is a more integrated process. Streaming, social, and live are on the rise, and ultimately serve as key contributors to the upward trend in live music spending.

These integrated channels have the power to accelerate the discovery of new artists, creating a viral loop that amplifies buzz and drives ticket sales. The experience of attending a show is becoming more and more popular—and profitable. Fans that buy tickets to live events, big or small, spend nearly twenty times as much on music than non-ticket buyers.

Not only is live the most engaging way to experience music, it creates the strongest bond between artist and fan. Fans become more emotionally and financially invested in the artists they experience live, bringing more value to the industry—and the artists who make it run.

1: MusicWatch Annual Music Study, Internet Population 13+

2-4: MusicWatch, Inc

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About Eventbrite

Eventbrite is the global marketplace for live experiences that allows people to find and create events. Since 2006, the self-service platform has helped event organizers of all kinds to sell more tickets through robust technology and promotional tools, totaling $3.5 billion in gross ticket sales. In addition to providing technology for organizers, Eventbrite has become the destination for consumers looking to discover a variety of live experiences from small photography and yoga classes to large concerts and festivals with tens of thousands of attendees. More than 200 million tickets have been processed on the platform, and in 2014 alone, Eventbrite processed $1.5 billion in gross ticket sales for attendees in more than 180 countries. Eventbrite has eight offices around the world, and is headquartered in San Francisco, California. Investors include Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global and T. Rowe Price. Learn more about Eventbrite Music.