It’s not just JLo: Why big musical acts can’t sell out concerts anymore


Jennifer Lopez, a global superstar with decades of chart-topping hits, recently confessed a surprising truth: She struggled to sell out her latest tour. JLo’s revelation highlights a wider trend in the live music industry, where even big-name acts are finding it tough to fill venues.

So, what’s behind this shift? The answer lies in a combination of factors, from changing fan behavior and oversaturation to rising costs and the lingering impacts of the pandemic.

Firstly, the live music landscape has never been more crowded. The 2010s saw a boom in concert touring, driven in part by a decline in artist income from recorded music sales. This led to a glut of live shows, making it harder for individual acts to stand out and attract audiences.

At the same time, fan behavior has evolved. While superfans will always splash out on premium tickets, casual concertgoers are becoming more discerning. With so many acts on the road, these fans are picking and choosing between shows, rather than blindly supporting every tour that rolls around.

The rise of festivals has further fragmented the market. These multi-act events offer a value proposition that’s hard for standalone tours to match – a diverse lineup and a day out with friends, often at a lower cost per artist.

Touring has also become a costly business. Productions are growing more elaborate to meet fan expectations, driving up expenses. At the same time, venues are hiking their fees, and ticketing companies are taking ever-bigger bites out of each sale. These costs inevitably get passed on to fans, making tickets pricier at a time when disposable incomes are under pressure.

The lingering impacts of COVID-19 add another layer of complexity. While restrictions have eased, some fans remain cautious about attending crowded indoor events. At the same time, the pandemic disrupted artist touring schedules, leading to a logjam of rescheduled shows that are now competing for a limited pool of concertgoers.

For Jennifer Lopez and other big acts, the solution lies in adapting to this new reality. This might mean more strategic touring – picking key markets and unique venues, rather than trying to hit every city. It could also involve creating more compelling experiences, like themed shows or one-off collaborations, to stand out from the pack.

Ultimately, while selling out concerts is tougher than ever, there’s still huge demand for live music. The acts that thrive will be those that understand the changed landscape and find ways to offer fans an experience that’s worth their time and money.


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