Insights

The Live Lift: How Performing at Big Events Boosts Artists’ Music
Article

The Live Lift: How Performing at Big Events Boosts Artists’ Music

Although Taylor Swift took home the biggest prize at this year’s GRAMMY Awards—and had the most talked-about speech—some of the other artists with memorable stage performances might have been bigger winners.

How could someone win bigger? Through post-event sales lifts. While Swift is already somewhat of a household name, several of the musicians that performed during CBS’ Feb. 15 GRAMMYs broadcast benefitted from the primetime exposure, garnering big jumps in music consumption in the week immediately following. They also benefitted from significant increases in album sales, online streaming and radio play of their work, according to Nielsen data.

For example, Kendrik Lamar, who lost out to Taylor Swift for Album of the Year, saw a 67% spike in online streams and a 47% increase in radio plays on the Monday and Tuesday after the GRAMMYs thanks to his electrifying performance; Lamar also saw a 121% jump in track-equivalent album sales (traditional album sales plus 10 track downloads and 1,500 online streams equivalent to one album sale).

The boost in Lamar’s digital success highlights a key music trend: Hip-hop fans are increasingly at the forefront of digital media consumption, relying heavily on streaming outlets—especially video—to watch and listen. According to Nielsen’s 2015 U.S Music Report, hip-hop/R&B was the most streamed genre last year, accounting for 21% of all on-demand streams.

Alabama Shakes was another big winner from the GRAMMYs broadcast. The band’s passionate and rockin’ display on stage sparked a 170% jump in online streams and a 56% boost in radio plays in the two days following the awards show, as well as a 239% spike in album sales in the week afterward.

Andra Day, who teamed up with Ellie Goulding for an inspirational performance, saw the biggest increase in album sales from her GRAMMYs appearance (+429% sales jump in the week after the event compared with the week earlier). She was also the second-most streamed artist overall following the 2016 ceremony, hitting an 82% spike in artist streams.

Gwen Stefani’s music tailed behind with a spike of 275% in total album sales following the 2016 ceremony. Although she wasn’t nominated for any 2016 awards, the combination of her live music video and Target ad went viral following the 2016 ceremony for performing the first-ever live music video, broadcast during the GRAMMY awards.

Even Adele, who said she spent an entire day crying because of the technical difficulties that affected her performance, saw a 990% increase in sales of her single “All I Ask” in the two days after the event.

The boost in sales that artists see after appearing on stage at big events isn’t limited to the GRAMMYs, Nielsen data shows. Performing during the Super Bowl halftime show is another venue that can boost consumption. And that was the case for one of this year’s performers, even though the hype over the performance was somewhat subdued.

While Beyoncé and Bruno Mars received much more attention and press accolades for their performances, Coldplay, this year’s headliner, saw a big boost in music consumption after performing at Super Bowl 50.

The British band saw big jumps in album sales (+299%) and online streaming (+71%) after the game compared to week before the Super Bowl. They also saw a slight (2%) increase in radio airplay.

On the Monday following the Super Bowl, streams of Coldplay’s new song “Adventure for a Lifetime,” which was performed at halftime, increased 42% to 1.19 million streams (up from 837,000 on Sunday). In contrast, Beyoncé’s “Formation,” which is currently only streaming on Tidal and YouTube, saw a slight bump from 247,000 streams to 270,000 streams the day after the Super Bowl. Streams of Mark Ronson’s hit “Uptown Funk” featuring Bruno Mars remained fairly consistent after the performance, with about 1.01 million streams both before and after the game.

What’s clear, performing during a live event like the GRAMMYs or Super Bowl definitely turns the volume up and keeps toes tapping well after the live show is over for musicians.