Page last updated at 07:07 GMT, Friday, 14 May 2010 08:07 UK

Festivals thrive in concert boom

By Ian Youngs
Music reporter, BBC News

Music festival crowd
Fans now spend more money on live music than recorded music

The popularity of festivals has helped fuel a rise in the fortunes of live music events, new figures show.

UK fans spent £1.45bn on gigs in 2009 - up 4% from the previous year, according to songwriters' body PRS For Music.

Some £275m of that was spent on festivals, up about £50m - a sharper rise than any other area of live music.

"This seems to be a UK phenomenon," PRS chief economist Will Page said. "I don't think anywhere else in Europe has seen the same explosion in festivals."

There are more than 670 events being held in the UK in 2010, according to guide.

PRS For Music put the boom down to promoters appealing to all types of music fan by offering a wider variety of events, with innovations including creches for families.

"They're growing this market with incredible acumen," Mr Page said at the Great Escape music convention in Brighton.

Arenas - 37% of total live music revenue
Mid-level venues - 21%
Festivals - 19%
Stadiums - 11%
Clubs - 11%
Parks - 1%
Source: PRS For Music

In 2008, fans spent more money on live music than recorded music for the first time in modern history, and that gap has now widened.

Sales of CDs, records and digital downloads remained flat at £1.35bn in 2009.

The picture has changed dramatically since 2004, when almost £2bn was spent on recorded music - more than double the amount spent on live music.

But the festival scene is not all rosy. The figures come just days after the Glade dance festival in Hampshire was cancelled, with promoters blaming rising policing and security costs and "a level of advanced ticket sales that is below our expectations".

PRS For Music, which distributes royalties to 60,000 songwriters and composers, also announced a plan to use gig information submitted by fans to help calculate payments to its members.

It will use set lists submitted to the Songkick website to find out which tracks have been performed and send out royalties accordingly.

"We already have many innovative ways of getting that set list information and getting those royalties through to the right songwriters," Mr Page said.

"But with Songkick we're going to establish a mutual co-operation to ensure we can get better set list information in."

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