At the choir that I sing in, Rushmoor Male Voice Choir, we organise our own concerts twice a year. This means that we are well used to that dreaded countdown over the days and weeks leading up to the big day watching the size of the concert ticket sales gradually climb.
The trouble is how do you tell whether the number reached at any particular time is good? How can you tell what audience size to expect on the night? Incremental marketing activity is costly for an amateur choir like ours so the last thing we want to do is to incur extra cost when it is not needed.
Can history answer the concert ticket sales question?
I took a look at our concert ticket sales for five concert timelines over the last three years to try and get a feel for what to expect. I thought you might be interested in the results even if they might need to be taken with a pinch of salt.
You must remember that we may have a totally different demographic of audience to your choir, with very different habits. For instance, when I analyse our Facebook advertising results for last year 67% of the responses were from women and 86% from the over 55’s! A survey done by Eventbrite about ticket buying, which covered all sorts of events not just music concerts, indicates that both of these characteristics would lead to earlier ticket purchasing behaviour.
Concert ticket sales more than 6 weeks before the day
I found that we have usually sold about one-third of the final audience size by 6 weeks before the concert. Indeed, it appears that the majority of these tickets will have been bought 8 weeks or more before the concert and there is only a very gradual purchase rate up to 5 weeks before the concert. I would assume that this is the buying of tickets by, mainly, friends and family of choir members.
This is often where there is a tendency to panic because the ticket sales appear to be slow. I would suggest that you should only panic if ticket numbers sold up to this point, multiplied by 3, is way too low for your desired audience size.
The countdown to the concert
Our concert ticket sales seem to take an upward kick 5 weeks before the concert and progress through to concert day in a more or less straight line. With one month to go we tend to have sold tickets for half our eventual audience size and a fortnight before the concert we have sold 60 - 70%. The last two weeks do consistently show the highest sales per week.
What impacts the sales?
We normally ramp up marketing and communication efforts in the last 2 months before a concert so you could suggest that that is the driver for the observed progression of ticket purchases. I would tend to disagree.
I think that the marketing activities will definitely impact the actual number of ticket sales, but the timeline that I have described would still take place. An examination of the trends for each of the six concerts I looked at seems to show the consistent 5 week ‘kick’ even when the timing of marketing activities varies between them.
This does not mean that you can do nothing when faced with a poor audience number outlook just 1 month before a concert. If you’re unhappy with doubling the number of tickets that you have sold by this time, then what it does tell you is you need to do something quite different and new to promote a last burst of sales. Do not rely on wishful thinking and what you have already done to change the outcome!
I would love to hear from you about your experiences and ways in which you have been able to boost ticket sales as concert day looms!