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Music Fans Are Increasingly Crossing Borders For Shows, Report Says

Ticket reseller Stubhub says a record number of people are traveling to other countries to experience concerts and other live events

BTS performs "DNA" at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater, in Los Angeles on Nov. 19, 2017.

BTS performs "DNA" at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater, in Los Angeles on Nov. 19, 2017.

Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Ticket-resale giant StubHub, the world’s biggest ticket marketplace, released its fourth annual “Year In Live Experiences” report on Tuesday, highlighting one point in particular: More people are crossing borders to attend concerts, festivals, sports games and other live events than ever before.

Nearly 200,000 customers traveled to a different country in 2018 to attend one of the some 30,000 live events that were listed on the platform, according to StubHub’s report. The company, which operates as a secondary-market broker for buyers and sellers to meet rather than a reseller itself, saw fans from 144 countries travel to attend live events. It attributes the record number of cross-border concerts to the globalization of the music scene as well as to fans’ ever-rising interest in live, intimate experiences with their favorite acts.

“There are a few industry and cultural factors driving the trends we’re seeing,” Perkins Miller, Stubhub’s general manager of the Americas, tells Rolling Stone. “On the industry side, we are seeing artists expand their star power internationally — fans flocked from 80 different countries to watch K-Pop boy band BTS perform — and as a culture, we are traveling further afield to experience live events. The easy availability of apartment rentals and homestays is accelerating this trend. Nothing lets you experience another culture quite like immersing yourself in a live event. In some way, it’s the ultimate way to feel ‘like a local.'” 

Miller also notes that a key factor in international event purchases is ease of travel: Fans from Asia and Latin America are increasingly going to events in Los Angeles or San Francisco because of major airport accessibility, and U.S. fans are traveling the most to the U.K. and Canada. But American “music tourists” are also visiting Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands more than before, offering another marker of the size of the live events boom — a trend that is expected to continue for at least several more years and be a major leader of music-industry revenue.

Below are a few of the music-specific details noted in Stubhub’s report.

Countries Most Likely to Cross Borders for a Live Event:

  1. United States    
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Japan
  4. Canada
  5. Mexico
  6. Spain
  7. Germany
  8. Ireland
  9. South Korea
  10. France

Top 10 Best-Selling Artists In Global Non-U.S. Markets in 2018:

  1. Ed Sheeran
  2. BTS
  3. Elton John
  4. Foo Fighters
  5. Paul McCartney
  6. U2
  7. Drake and Migos
  8. Taylor Swift
  9. The Rolling Stones
  10. Eagles

Other Experiences That Brought Fans Together Around the World:

  • Hamilton continues to dominate as Stubhub’s Number One theatre event, this year on a global scale: Fans from more than 95 countries attended more than 1,600 shows across 25 global cities.
  • K-Pop boy band BTS generated the highest demand per show in the U.S. this summer, drawing fans from 80 different countries at like its sold-out Citi Field show.
  • In the U.S., Ed Sheeran had the most international audience this year — at least on the secondary-ticket market — with fans from 83 countries coming to see him.

In This Article: concerts, music industry

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