Ea bit of rest at the beginning of the year is not inconvenient for Chris Hahne. “We have a 50 percent occupancy rate in January,” says the tour bus rental company. In the past, the month was always full, also because the price went down a bit. “The pandemic showed me that I no longer wanted it, the price is now fixed, and if you don’t want to pay it, you just drive with someone else.” It’s good if people can take a deep breath anyway. 2022 was stressful enough. Cancellations at short notice here, spontaneous additional shows, forced breaks due to corona, stranded buses or crew changes: “We felt like we tackled every tour five times,” Hahne looks back.
The year was marked by a hopeless oversupply of concerts – tours that had been postponed several times crossed paths that were planned for longer and newly booked. Almost everyone finally wanted to play live again. No wonder, for many musicians, concerts are by far the most important source of income.
The two companies Rock Coaches and Coach Service, together they have 105 buses of different sizes, says Hahne. The offer ranges from the single-decker bus to the double-decker in various configurations with up to 22 bunks. From May, the fleet was constantly on the move, he says. Some artists even had to cancel their tour because they simply couldn’t get a bus. But that was just one of many problems. Even the flood of concerts would have had a negative effect on ticket sales. However, as a result of the immense cost increases for consumers such as musicians, organizers or venue operators, a veritable vicious circle emerged. There is also repeated talk of weaning after the compulsory Corona break, especially in the older target group. Difficult conditions for the widely ramified industry, and one thing is certain: there is no quick improvement in sight.
Oversupply is likely to subside, many problems remain
“The big themes are actually always running, and there are also the hype themes that are currently having momentum and also work well, but the broad middle class and smaller acts are sometimes there with halved ticket sales and doubled costs,” summarizes Stephan Thanscheidt, co- Managing Director of the tour and festival organizer FKP Scorpio, summarize the current situation. Logically, that couldn’t work, “that’s why a lot has been canceled recently, including some shows that you’ve been waiting for for two and a half years”.
In the past, newcomers often had to fight and pay at first. But even more established artists are sometimes faced with complicated decisions. “Many acts that attract up to 1000 or a maximum of 2000 people are the basis of our diverse cultural landscape,” says Thanscheidt, “and a large part of them are having a very difficult time right now, and it will remain difficult”.
Such assessments can be heard in many places in the industry. At the same time, CTS Eventim , Europe’s largest ticketing and event group, and Live Nation , the significantly larger world market leader from the USA, once again reported record figures on the occasion of the most recent quarterly balance sheet. This is only a contradiction at first glance. Because the industry giants not only carry out a large number of tours for the superstars who are always in demand. They also operate various large venues and also earn fees from countless non-Group events via their ticketing platforms.