In recent decades the music industry has gone from a business focused on selling records and CDs, to one of less expensive digital downloads, to today's biz that is centered around streaming music. Consider that sales of top-selling albums have dropped 17 percent since in 2017, according to Billboard. And if you compare top-streaming song artists with top-selling album artists, you have to scroll pretty far to find an artist on both lists. Big streaming platforms like Spotify pay less than a penny per stream, so with a million streams, a song could bring in about $7,000. And not all of that money goes to the artist.
Now that the music industry provides less likelihood for even the most popular artists to make money from their song and album sales, concerts have become a vital source of income. Even top-streaming artists like The Weeknd turn to touring to bring in the real money. In addition to the potential for massive ticket sales revenue — consider Taylor Swift's record-breaking Reputation Stadium Tour (it's grossed more than $100 million in ticket sales in North America alone) or Bruno Mars' 24K Magic Tour (it grossed well over $240 million) — concerts provide the opportunity to earn huge sums from merchandise and interestingly, album sales. Some tours now bundle a CD with the ticket, and each fulfilled CD counts toward album numbers, according to Iain Bluett, co-founder of Ticket Alternative.