UTA IQ Study Shows Music Fans Eager For Live Shows, Still Hope To Enjoy Virtual Content

United Talent Agency’s research, data and analytics division, UTA IQ, has released results from a study “Virtual + Reality: The Future of Digital & Live Entertainment In A Post-Pandemic World,” which shows fans overwhelmingly eager to attend live shows but also happy to continue virtual events.

“As ‘real-life’ reemerges, consumers are roundly rejecting a binary choice between virtual and live entertainment,” said Joe Kessler, Global Head of UTA IQ. “Much like hybrid work, consumers are demanding a ‘best of both worlds’ approach to their entertainment choices. Consumers are enthusiastic about returning to live experiences, but they also are unwilling to give up the enhanced virtual experiences that helped get them through the pandemic. Those who see a zero-sum game are missing the ample opportunities ahead if you listen to consumers and their increasingly discerning expectations for both virtual and IRL entertainment.”
The survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18-54, according to UTA.
The study found that 96% of consumers already plan to return to live events once it’s safe, with sports concerts and movies topping the to-do list. One out of three respondents said live events will be more important to them going forward than previously., with one out of three more inclined to go to as many live events as possible. 
Reasons for attending a live entertainment experience were, in order,  to bond with family, feel a sense of normalcy, make memories, and live life to the fullest. 
Notably, 88% of respondents who attended a virtual event during the pandemic will continue to do so when live events return, with top reasons to attend a virtual event being to avoid crowds, to experience an event comfortably, attend an event taking place in another region, and to spend less money than in person. Three out of four respondents viewed a virtual event during the pandemic. 
The findings are valuable as agents, managers and promoters gauge demand for live music with COVID restrictions rapidly easing across the continent, pent-up demand from consumers and venues and events with a shortened concert season for 2021. The situation has led to successful onsales but trepidation about staffing, calendar challenges and further uncertainty over the longer-term. 
The results  are a follow-up from a previous study,  Forever Changed: COVID-19’s Lasting Impact On The Entertainment Industry.