Streaming Concert Films Are Everywhere, and Millennials Are Loving It
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Fans of Taylor Swift who were not able to snag a coveted ticket to the singer’s upcoming Eras Tour can always hope for the next best thing: One of her performances gets neatly packaged into a concert film.
As part of an increasingly common genre accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, pop stars ranging from Swift and Beyoncé to The Weeknd and the 1975 all have released filmed versions of recent concerts onto streaming services. It’s the closest thing to being at a show without being there — and some fans probably prefer it. Behind-the-scenes music documentaries have followed, often accompanying or built into the filmed concerts.
It’s all part of a recent “rockumentary revolution,” said Justin Lacob, head of development at XTR, an entertainment studio that produces documentaries. Netflix Inc., Warner Bros. Discovery Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc. and the Walt Disney Co. have spent tens of millions of dollars on music films and related content for their respective streaming platforms. Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” sold to Disney+ for around $30 million, while Apple TV+ bought “Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry” for $25 million. Five years ago, “these numbers would have been completely unheard of,” Lacob said.
But there’s a reason for the genre’s pricey figures. Americans — and especially millennials — generally like it.
New Morning Consult data found that more than half of U.S. adults (58%) are interested in documentaries about musicians, while nearly half (48%) are interested in concert films. The majority of millennials, meanwhile, said they would sign up for a streaming service if one of their favorite musicians were to release a concert on that platform.
Filmed Concerts Can Get Millennials to Sign Up for Streaming Services
Millennials love filmed concerts. Gen Zers, not so much
- More than half of millennials said they would be convinced to sign up for a streaming service if one of their favorite musicians released a concert film (54%) or music documentary (56%) on it, compared with 39% of the general population.
- Gen Z adults, on the other hand, were less interested, at 42% and 40%, respectively.
- Baby boomers showed little interest in music documentaries as a subscription hook, with only 21% of the cohort saying that genre could get them to sign up for a streaming service and an overwhelming 79% saying it wouldn’t.
Millennials Most Likely to Say Concert Films Are Good Alternatives to Attending Concerts in Person
Millennials are fine to watch concerts from the couch
- Roughly half of millennials (52%) said filmed concerts are an adequate substitute to attending in person, compared with 45% of Gen Xers and 42% of baby boomers. Gen Zers were least likely to agree with the statement, at 37%.
- Rock (59%), pop (54%) and country (45%) concert films were the genres in which adults were most interested.
The “rockumentary revolution” lives on
Some fans will turn to these streaming films if they can’t afford the higher price attached to concert tickets, especially during a potential recession, Lacob said. He added that viewers often want to see behind-the-scenes and archival footage of musicians, pointing to documentaries like Disney+’s “The Beatles: Get Back” and Netflix’s “Miss Americana” about Swift. “They’re gaining intimate access,” Lacob said.
HBO is already touting the success of “The Weeknd: Live at SoFi Stadium,” which premiered last month, and the genre is filling up streaming services’ release calendars this year. On Friday, Disney+ will premiere “Miley Cyrus – Endless Summer Vacation (Backyard Sessions),” which may resonate with younger viewers (read: millennials) who grew up with Cyrus on the Disney Channel. The premiere of “Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert” drew 5.9 million viewers on the channel in 2008.
The March 3-5, 2023, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 2,200 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.