572: See it Live

A Thousand Things to Talk About
572: See it Live

What band / group / musician / performance do you want to see live?

Full episode script

In the book The Economics of Experiences, the Arts and Entertainment, the authors find that, quote:

“there is no economically meaningful way to distinguish art from entertainment, if such a distinction is to be based on the inherent qualities of products. Instead, an analysis of the activities of interest groups, politicians and other gatekeepers to the world of the arts serves to illuminate how a designation as art serves to abolish market prices and suppress competition, in contrast to the much less distorted market for entertainment products.”


Translation: when something is identified as or named as “art” as opposed to “entertainment,” the biggest difference is that the usual forces of economics don’t quite apply in the same way.


So when you’re thinking about which arts or performance experiences you spend money on, your choice of what you see live may not be priced on a purely supply-and-demand basis. But that doesn’t mean that we’re spending less on experiences. Quite the opposite, in fact — a 2014 study by Eventbrite  found that

Since 1987, the share of consumer spending on live experiences and events relative to total U.S. consumer spending increased 70%. Nearly 8 in 10 (77%) millennials say some of their best memories are from an event or live experience they attended or participated in. 69% believe attending live events and experiences make them more connected to other people, the community, and the world.


And while we may be spending more on these performances and experiences, it’s not a new thing to spend cash on seeing a performance. According to Wikipedia, the five highest-attended single-artist concerts happened in 2017 (Vasco Rossi), 1990 (Paul McCartney), 1988 (Tina Turner), 1980 (Frank Sinatra), and 2005 (Luciano Ligabue).

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.