By Barry Janoff
September 21, 2015: With such celebrated performers as Taylor Swift, U2, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney and the Rolling Stones all on tour this year, and such festivals as Coachella, Stagecoach, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits playing to throngs of enthusiastic fans, the music entertainment category is poised to set several records regarding ticket sales, attendance and sponsorship deals.
Sponsorship spending on music tours, venues and festivals is predicted to reach a record $1.4 billion in 2015, up 4.8% from last year, according to the just-released IEG Sponsorship Report from research, marketing and consulting firm IEG, Chicago..
The spend tops the projected 2015 increase in the overall sponsorship industry, which IEG places at 4%, as well as sports (4.4%), causes (3.7%) and "every other property segment."
According to William Chipps, senior editor for IEG Sponsorship Report senior editor, two factors are driving the increased spend: "Continued interest in national music festivals and a growing appetite for regional festivals, some of which have secured significant deals."
“Music festivals continue to pop out of the woodwork," said Chipps in a statement, "and many are drawing interest from national brands looking for an uncluttered marketing environment,.
Sponsorship spend in the category has climbed since 2011, when it was $1.17 billion. In 2012, the figure hit $1.22 billion; in 2013 $1.28 billion; and in 2014 $1.34 billion, per IEG.
Although the leading category is non-alcoholic beverages, with companies "3.8 times more likely to sponsor music than the average of all sponsors," according to IEG, Anheuser-Busch is the most active sponsor of music, with 29% saturation. Last year's leader, Coca-Cola (11%) is now fifth.
The Top Five also includes PepsiCo (17%), Brown-Forman (14%) and MillerCoors (11%).
Louisville, Ky.-based spirits and wine company Brown-Forman brands include Jack Daniel's, Old Forester, Finlandia, Southern Comfort, and Korbel.
According to IEG, one new company among the Top Ten most-active sponsors list is Uber. The ride-share app "has significantly expanded its presence on the music festival scene" with deals that include Live Nation, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits Music Festival and the Sasquatch Music Festival.
Behind non-alcoholic beverages, the Top Five categories also include Spirits (3.4 times more likely to sponsor music than the average of all sponsors), Media & Publishing (3.4), Beer 3.3) and Retail (2.6).
According to Pollstar, which tracks concert revenue and ticket sales, people purchased a record 18.8 million tickets for the Top 100 grossing tours of North America during the first half of 2015, a combined total of more than $1.4 billion.
That's up $402 million 39% over 2014 and up 15% over 2013, which at the time was a mid-year record.
The Rolling Stones, with just ten dates in North America though June, topped the list with $80.7 million for their Zip Code Tour, Garth Brooks was second at $79.9 million but No. 1 in tickets sold at 1.2 million, according to figures released by Pollstar in June.
Top Five grossing tours through mid-2015 also includes Fleetwood Mac ($65.9 million), Kenny Chesney ($55.8 million) and U2 ($40.3 million).
Taylor Swift, whose 1989 Tour has grossed $35.6 million through June, according to Pollstar, has endorsement deals that include Coca-Cola, Xfinity, Keds and Sony.
Among festivals, the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (Indio, Calif., April 10-12, April 17-18), set a record by grossing more than $84.2 million and selling some 198,000 tickers, No. 1 among all festivals in North America. Those figures were up from $78.3 million and 193,000, respectively, in 2014, according to Billboard. The lineup included AC/DC, Jack White, Drake and Hozier.
Sponsors for Coachella 2015 included Absolut, American Express, H&M, Heineken, JBL, Samsung Galazy and Sephora.
C&W festival Stagecoach (Indio, Calif., April 24-26), presented by Toyota, also set records, grossing almost $21.9 million with ticket sales reaching 140,000. Among the headliners: Tim McGraw, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton.
In addition to Toyota, Stagescoach sponsors included AmEx, Bud Light, Firestone, Malibu Rum, Monster Energy and PlayStation.
One of the nation's longest-running music festivals, Lollapalooza, had a sponsor roster in 2015 that included Red Bull, Anheuser-Busch (Bud Light), Pepsi, Bacardi, Jack Daniel's Toyota and Uber.
Included on the sponsor roll call for the music, film and interactive portion of South By Southwest: Esurance, Mazda, Monster Energy and Capital One.
Also among the most popular festivals this year: Mysteryland, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Beale Street, Bonnarro, Warped Tour and Voodoo Music Experience.
The Top Ten grossing tours through mid-2015 includes Maroon 5 ($39.8 million), Neil Diamond ($37.7 million), Taylor Swift ($35.6 million), Elton John ($29.8 million) and Bette Middler ($28.2 million). (See the Top 100 North American tours through June here.)
Top Ten Most Active Categories
Non-alcoholic beverage companies (3.8 times more likely to sponsor music than the average of all sponsors)
Media & Publishing 3.4
Hotel & Resort 1.2
Top Ten Most Active Companies
Fifth Generation 8%