2023 was a banner year for live events, with grosses from the top 100 tours up 53% from 2019, the last full year before the pandemic, according to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore. But beyond these record-breaking earnings, concerts also affect artists’ recorded music consumption, spurring local boosts as they tour the country.

Luminate and Billboard collaborated to dig deeper into touring’s effect on streaming totals. Examining a sample of nearly 1,000 shows from 50 of 2023’s top-grossing acts, the analysis found that the median concert yielded a 42% increase in local on-demand audio streams during the week of each event as compared to the eight weeks prior.

Of course, the size of the bump varies by artist. There’s a spectrum of effects, from Odesza doubling its local consumption after an average concert (+143%) to Blake Shelton‘s bump coming in slightly below the overall median (+32%).

But one of the defining factors in how big of a local streaming bump an artist receives is genre. Fan bases across pop, rock, country and beyond boast their own demographic and geographic characteristics, and as a result, their consumption habits vary widely.

Some of the biggest boosts in local consumption are reserved for the dance/electronic acts included in this analysis. The genre’s live footprint is often tied to festivals or nightclubs, meaning few of its marquee acts tour in the traditional sense. When they do play ticketed headline shows, in many cases those concerts amount to mini residencies in particular pockets of the country.

Pretty Lights exemplifies this phenomenon. When the producer played three shows in two Colorado markets — plus three each in Atlanta and Philadelphia — last year, his local streams averaged a 132% bump. And shows played by LCD Soundsystem during the group’s 20-date residency at New York City’s Brooklyn Steel translated to a 125% jump in its New York-area streams, which sustained throughout the residency’s duration.

K-pop acts function in a similar way. In the United States, K-pop is a relatively young genre that has firmly established itself in only a handful of markets. SUGA and TOMORROW X TOGETHER each played a small number of American cities on tour in 2023, with both hitting New York and Los Angeles as well as cities like Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Similar to dance acts, SUGA and TOMORROW X TOGETHER enjoyed local weekly streaming gains of 133% and 129%, respectively — roughly three times higher than the average touring artist.

In stark contrast, R&B/hip-hop acts see comparatively small upticks in their local streaming activity after concerts. For much of the last decade, R&B/hip-hop has been the most popular genre in America, and its rise coincided with the dawn of the streaming era. For these artists, sky-high streaming activity tends to be a baseline, so adding a concert to the mix doesn’t yield the same growth rates.

Still, tours by Drake, 50 Cent and J.I.D. & SMINO generated local weekly boosts of 28%-34% — far less than K-pop or dance/electronic artists and below the 42% average, but a material increase across lengthy national tours nonetheless.

Local streaming increases for the country genre also tend to be slightly below average, with the size of the increases often dependent upon how long the acts have been around. Little Big Town and Blake Shelton, both of which began their careers in the early 2000s, post typical post-show gains of 36% and 32%, respectively. Jelly Roll and Morgan Wallen, both of whom scored the biggest hits of their careers last year, sit lower at 18%.

Jelly Roll and Wallen have led a new class of crossover country stars who have enjoyed more success on the Billboard Hot 100 and Streaming Songs charts than the genre has seen in years. Much of that success is owed to a more focused digital footprint, with robust activity across social media and streaming platforms compared to acts like Shelton and Little Big Town, who rose to fame in the CD era. That positions them closer to hip-hop acts who boast higher consumption figures on streaming platforms than older artists, therefore giving them less room to grow.

Of course, many artists cross genre lines or operate within sub-genres or different sects of genres, blurring its effects. The Jonas Brothers, a pop band that blossomed in the 2000s and reunited five years ago, typically see massive local streaming increases, with the group averaging a 129% boost following last year’s shows. RBD, a Latin pop vocal group with a similar timeline as the JoBros, demonstrated even bigger local streaming gains, which were up an average of 285% following dates on the band’s reunion tour last year. This pattern continues with tours by Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block, both of which saw a 172% boost, suggesting that classic pop acts are perhaps the biggest benefactors in terms of streaming numbers when they go on tour.

Speaking of reunions, last year also marked the 20th anniversary of landmark records by Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service, both of which are the brainchildren of indie-rock stalwart Ben Gibbard. Both acts, fronted by Gibbard, returned to the stage in 2023 to co-headline the Give Up & Transatlanticism 20th Anniversary Tour. During that run, their local streams bloomed by 195% — a number outdone only by RBD among the 50 artists in the analysis.

Click here for more on the symbiotic relationship between touring and streaming.

Eric Frankenberg
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