It’s no secret that the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is one of the coolest and most hyped festival events in the world.
Coachella has massive appeal and is a favorite of celebrities, influencers and everyday music lovers.
In addition, the impact it has on booked performers is so influential that artists are required to agree to an aggressive radius clause that can disrupt half a year’s worth of touring - as noted in a 2018 lawsuit, their policy restricted booked talent from playing at other North American festivals between December 15, 2017 and May 1, 2018.
Despite this, it’s still an incredibly lucrative opportunity to play at Coachella.
While the festival is known as a highly memorable live entertainment experience, Coachella also has the potential to create ripple effects on the digital side of music consumption as well.
Here’s how Coachella helps artists get more streams.
This week, Bruce Houghton reported on significant stream increases for various artists that were affiliated in some way with the festival during Weekend 1.
As we can see from the table above, there are three ways that artists involved with the festival have seen a massive amount of streaming growth.
- Guest Features
This is the most obvious way that Coachella influences an artist’s music consumption. A combination of discovery and nostalgia after seeing the lineup release encourages fans both old and new to revisit the performers’ music to get hyped for the big show.
In addition, there’s dozens of user-made Spotify playlists with the Coachella theme that feature hits from all the artists that are going to perform. These playlists are ultra-convenient for those that know what they’re looking for to get excited for the festival without having to go through and make their own playlist.
Even as guest performers, artists can still get the same spotlight from showing up in front of the crowd at Coachella. Shania Twain was brought out by Harry Styles in a surprise guest performance that caused a surge for her hit single “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!”.
Similarly, Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz fame was brought out by Billie Eilish for a surprise duet of “Feel Good Inc.” and experienced a huge boost in consumption of his discography on Spotify.
Finally, even a simple mention during a performance can shift attention to an artist that isn’t present. Art rock supergroup The Good, The Bad, and The Queen (also led by Albarn) was mentioned by Eilish as her favorite band which similarly shot their streams to an increase of over 150%.
This is a fascinating way to get an influx of listeners as Billie's mention was a no-cost and authentic display of admiration that happened to greatly benefit the band.
SG Lewis and the Power of Convenient Discovery
Another major piece that helps artists is that the festival enables incredibly convenient discovery of new artists across all kinds of genres and only a relatively short walk away.
I was able to attend the festival on Saturday of Weekend 1 with a group of friends who wanted to see SG Lewis once it was announced that he’d be the secret guest closing out the Do Lab stage that night.
As a fan of dance music, I knew I would be able to get into his set at least a little bit, but the combination of the production, crowd and music made the artist’s performance really stand out to me. Because of this, I ended up searching through his music on Spotify as well as any sets I could find on Soundcloud and Mixcloud to see if I could revisit the awesome vibe he had set that night.
It was then that I realized Coachella (and other festivals in general) is excellent at introducing artists to new listeners. Compared to more genre-centric festivals such as EDC or Rolling Loud, Coachella’s audience is much more heterogeneous in terms of musical taste and can introduce festival goers to sounds they didn’t know they would like.
The Spotlight Effect
While Coachella has many unique advantages, this “spotlight effect” can occur outside of music festivals as well.
Thanks to this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show, Eminem and Dr. Dre both reaped the benefits of the spotlight.
Eminem’s “Encore” album subsequently reached a cumulative stream count of 1.5 Billion, which makes that his 10th studio album that reached the milestone; he’s now the first act in history to have 10 albums that have achieved this.
Within the first hour after the Super Bowl, Dr. Dre received a 185% increase in streams. In fact, all the guest artists during the Halftime Show received a remarkable increase in consumption of the songs that were played during the show.
The Big Takeaway
Fans want to revisit songs that they associate with amazing moments in their lives. Additionally, anticipation can entice them to discover or revisit the music in preparation of those moments.
The reason that Coachella delivers an unforgettable experience is also the reason that it helps artists get discovered and rediscovered. The next time you recognize an act on Coachella's lineup, you can expect they'll be enjoying the digital benefits.