Sound is analog. Live shows are not.

Sound is analog. Live shows are not.
Mixing Deck @ Stars of Sounds Murten 2022, BuPhotography by Urbanum AG.

This master thesis aims to gain insights and opportunities for the live music industry in Switzerland, focusing on live concerts and music festivals. The spotlight lies in how traditional live experiences can be transformed into impressive online and hybrid experiences to reach a broader audience and explore new revenue streams while maintaining the same level of quality.

The analysis describes new opportunities for artistic production and valorization, presenting a rich picture of new opportunities while discussing possible restrictions and challenges, thereby enabling practitioners to take strategic action, and build a basis for future scientific research projects.

Switzerland boasts a vibrant cultural scene with a wide range of annual festivals and events. Despite its small size, the country hosts an impressive number of over 200 music festivals and 1500+ live music events each year, making it one of the world's top festival destinations. In 2019, the Swiss live music industry generated CHF 437 million in gross revenues.

However, recent trends suggest that the market may be reaching a point of stagnation and saturation. To avoid declining attendance and stagnant revenues, the Swiss live music scene needs to take measures to stimulate further growth in this sector and prevent potential losses in the future.

The study highlights the potential of online and hybrid experiences in the Swiss live music industry, especially emerging technologies providing innovative artistic production and monetization opportunities.  Combining live streams with offline events generates additional revenue for businesses and artists alike. Furthermore, competition can be reduced by exploring new business models and ticketing value chains.

However, challenges include the lack of social connection and sensory experience and a fear of the unknown impact of AI technologies on artistic production.

The industry's mindset plays a crucial role in the success of creating new online- and hybrid experiences - it is imperative to encourage diversity, curiosity, and innovation. Last, collaborating with practitioners from other industries facilitates knowledge transfer and adoption of emerging technologies, creating new business models and revenue streams for the Swiss live music industry.

Implications for practitioners
⎯ Creating a diverse and inclusive workforce to facilitate creative ideas and new perspectives

Reduce fear through education and knowledge transfer of new technologies by changing one’s point of view: Instead of fearing the ways in which technology will change the status quo, the industry should try to actively seek out new possibilities

Active exchange with other professionals: What are their experiences? What works, what does not, and why? Enable co-creation and shared use of resources between business practitioners to incorporate new technologies and share the cost of needed investments in infrastructure and knowledge

Broaden horizons and consult with other industry experts who either face the same challenges (f.e. education) or already have new business models up and running successfully (e.g., TV shows, sports, gaming)

⎯ Use positive inclusion- and sustainability factors to promote online- and hybrid events, and for promotional and communication purposes—do good and talk about it!

The study employed an exploratory qualitative research approach, using inductive content analysis to identify and examine novel prospects for the live music industry, based on 12 expert interviews.