Nearly half of DJs say gigs are harder to find and pay less post-Covid, per IMS business report

While live shows remain the biggest source of income for most DJs surveyed, 85 per cent would rather spend their time making music.

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Nearly half of DJs find that securing gigs has become more challenging and less lucrative in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the 2024 IMS Business Report.

The annual report, which evaluates the health of the dance music industry, positions the sector “firmly in its post-pandemic growth phase”. Revenue grew by 17 per cent in 2023 to reach a value of $11.8 billion, with festivals and clubs dominating revenues, accounting for nearly half of the industry total.

Combined, the 15 leading music companies have increased revenues to almost double pre-pandemic levels. Independent labels in particular, experienced the fastest growth in market share in 2023, reaching 31 per cent. Self-releasing artists, meanwhile, lost share — a likely aftermath of the changes to streaming royalties over the past year.

Live music also continues its post-Covid renaissance, with live companies enjoying the strongest growth of 35 per cent across all business types. According to Pollstar, the top 100 tours generated an impressive $9.2 billion in revenue in 2023.

“2022 was an unusual year, in that it reflected the post-pandemic bounce back effect for live,” said Mark Mulligan, MD & Analyst at MIDiA Research. “There was a risk that 2023 would struggle to live up to those inflated expectations, but instead the electronic music industry grew strongly once again, with impressive growth across virtually all of its constituent parts.”

Although live has returned in force, a sizable number of DJs are still finding things harder than before the pandemic.

40 per cent of those surveyed find that gigs are generally paying less, with 41 per cent finding it harder to even secure bookings. And while performing is where the money’s at for most DJs — as opposed to royalties, an overwhelming majority (85 per cent) believe that making music is still more important than DJing.

The report also spotlights the industry’s concerns about wider industry trends, with 70 per cent agreeing that artist development is falling through the cracks and more than half (57 per cent) worried about generative AI.

Read the full report at International Music Summit.


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