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Aviation & the music business: co-operation needed between airlines, airports and tourism bodies

This new 80 page report, published by CAPA - Centre for Aviation, examines the credentials of a number of airlines and airports that are actively involved in the promotion of musical events, including performances on their own property (e.g. on board or in-terminal), by reference to six case studies, in Europe, North America and Africa.

At the same time, there are many airlines, airports and even tourist boards that do not give due weight to the music industry in their planning – although, like the travel industry it is a global one, after all.

Live music events, in particular, attract high numbers of people prepared to travel to watch the performers they support and, in the case of festivals, to experience other performers that are new to them, both in their own countries and, increasingly, abroad. Some ‘super fans’ dedicate their life to following their preferred performers from concert to concert, globally.

In a massive industry, a failure of airlines and airports to exploit opportunities

There is significant overlap between the aviation and music industries to be exploited by airports, airlines and tourism communities but, despite the fact that the music industry often outperforms the general economy, this all too often escapes the local airlines and airports.

These operators tend to leave marketing, promotion and other activities to tourist boards or their equivalent. While those tourism organisations usually do a very good job, it is rarely the case that they are tasked with ensuring that individual airlines or airports benefit from music industry events

The largest music festival attracts an annual audience of almost one million, 32 million people go to at least one music festival in the US every year and 3.5 million once turned out to watch a single show in Russia.  

In the US, performing arts attracted three times as many visitors as sporting events

This groundswell of travel adds to that undertaken by the artists themselves to perform and by their supporting management and operational crews. In all, it is big business, and getting both bigger and more global. And that means for airlines and airports too.

The top ten countries by musical revenues

Country Annual revenues (2016) in USD billion
United States 15.1
Germany 4.5
United Kingdom 4.3
Japan 4.3
France 1.8
Canada 1.2
Australia 1.2
Russia 1.1
Netherlands 1.0
China 0.9

An important issue is the way that musical events can be important for regional economies. It is often the case that the percentage of external visitors that are connected to music is higher in a region than in a country’s capital.

The final section deals with the way airlines regard the importance of music and live performances.

What is evident is that it is mainly the smaller airlines, or individual divisions of larger ones, that are the most pro-active in using music as a stimulant to travel – by supporting events, by arranging onboard performances or shows at airports.

And it is almost always for a common purpose – to stimulate travel to a country, on that particular airline, during what is a quieter period of the year. It is also noticeable that some of the keenest airlines to undertake these activities are those that have ex-music industry staff working for them, either directly as employees or as contractors.

Airlines and airports have much to gain by marketing musical events

The fact that the music industry often outperforms the general economy is one that all too often escapes airlines and airports, which tend to leave marketing, promotion and other activities to tourist boards or their equivalent. While those tourism organisations usually do a very good job, it is rarely the case that they are tasked with ensuring that individual airlines or airports benefit directly from music industry events.

The report’s intention is to attempt to set out some guidelines that will be useful to any aviation or tourism entity seeking to enter the potentially lucrative music world in a collaborative manner.

At the same time, it offers the music industry insight into how the aviation and tourism businesses work.

To download a copy of the report please go to: CAPA Reports
Free for CAPA Members. Please contact your CAPA Account Manager

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