Why go to pop concerts? The motivations behind live music attendance

Steven Caldwell Brown, Don Knox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Recent technological innovations have facilitated widespread illegal downloading of recorded music. While this points towards a decreased willingness to pay for music, the increase in the popularity of live music suggests otherwise. This is especially so when taking into account the rising cost of concert tickets, likely the result of reduced recorded music revenues. In the present study, a consideration of the unique motivations of why music fans decide on whether or not to attend live concerts is of interest. Drawing from a sample of 249 participants (55.02% female) with a mean age of 26.49, an open-ended questionnaire was analysed thematically with four key themes defined: Experience, Engagement, Novelty and Practical. The results highlight that participants want to “be there”, to be a part of something unique and special, sharing the experience with likeminded others. Other social dimensions such as the use of live music events as a means to demonstrate fan worship were also found. The unknown, novel aspects of live music were key motivators, such as hearing new material and watching support bands. Notably, price was not a contributing factor when choosing to attend a concert, suggesting that live music offers fans something special that they are more than willing to pay for.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalMusicae Scientiae
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 May 2016


  • music piracy
  • live music events
  • concerts
  • fan worship


Dive into the research topics of 'Why go to pop concerts? The motivations behind live music attendance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this