The music industry as a whole, worldwide, has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Comebacks have been postponed, concerts and tours have been cancelled, and fans are mourning being unable to see or hear more from their favorite artists. Some are worried about the economic toll it could take — if musicians can’t release music and can’t go on tour, where is their income going to come from? Initial estimates say that the music industry could lose a whopping $5 billion USD due to the pandemic.
BTS, while unlikely to go bankrupt due to their past successes and recent album release, has had to cancel a lot of events because of COVID-19. 4 concerts in Seoul, and 18 tour stops in North America, had to be postponed to a different date, since the tour was supposed to kick off in late April. Their European leg of the Map of the Soul tour is still set for July, though time will tell if that will stay.
In the past, BTS has made nearly $5 million USD per concert, which shows just how much concert ticket sales brings in an income for them. So how could they remedy this, especially if they have to cancel even more tour stops?
Some think they should follow in the footsteps of fellow musician YungBlud. After the singer-songwriter had to cancel his 5-stop tour in Asian due to the virus, he ended up hosting one single concert online, pioneering the possibility of other artists doing the same. It was met with massive success – the show had around 360,000 viewers, which is about 200 times more tickets than he would have sold in the entirety of his Asian tour. Since the performance was posted, it has now reached over 500,000 views.
Since the average ticket price for one of his concerts in Asia would have been $90.36 USD, this means he could have made $32 million USD total for the online concert. Even only charging 50% of the in-person concert sales – which would be more fair, given the context – that’s still a huge income for the musician.
Nimesh Shah, speaking for the company Feel Good Contacts (who ran the experimental research on the subject), expressed why this is exciting news. “We couldn’t believe the success of YungBlud’s online performance, and how many people tuned in to watch, so we were keen to work out how much he could have made, as well as the other artists in the industry. The numbers show that even if these artists were to offer a discount, they could still make a huge profit, while also benefiting the environment.”
If BTS were to follow suit and try streaming an online concert, estimates say they could make up to $1.1 billion USD in profit – which is incredible. Ian Sharpe, a chief executive at the video company Promethean, also gave his opinion on the matter. “There is a huge opportunity to use video to create a figurative and literal touchpoint with the audience. A stream no longer has to be a one-way flow of information with the touch of a screen, the audience should be able to engage with content and make watching active. There has never been a better time for streaming services to harvest audience data and understand both what they want to watch, and how it leads them to better engage.”
Given how loyal and supportive ARMYs are, and online concert for BTS would probably be a hit! Time will tell if they decide to go that route.