The famous Glastonbury Festival runs from 26-30 June 2019, with 135,000 revellers expected to descend on Worthy Farm in Somerset, England. They’ll be entertained by Stormzy, The Cure, Miley Cyrus, and many more. But what impact does the exposure of Glastonbury have on Spotify plays for the brand? At MicroStrategy, we crunched the data from the previous Glastonbury Festival in 2017 to learn more.
Glastonbury Festival 2017 drew a TV audience of nearly 21 million people in the UK, up 12% from 2016, according to the BBC. We built a dossier on MicroStrategy Desktop, drawing on data from Spotify to assess the impact that performing at Glastonbury could have on streams.
From Stage to Stream: Can We See a Correlation?
We looked at average monthly streams per artist in the UK, Glastonbury’s home market. First, let’s look at Friday’s headline acts on the main Pyramid Stage: Radiohead, The XX, and Royal Blood.
In the month prior to Glastonbury, May 2017, Radiohead received 47,738 streams on Spotify, while in June 2017, the month of the festival, plays shot up 304% to 145,186 streams, only to fall back to 51,821 by October.
The XX, by contrast, saw monthly plays in June 2017 at a relatively low 75,198. This may have been due to the band’s incredible start to the year. The XX’s much-anticipated third album I See You was released on 13 January 2017, five years after the band’s second album. Streams in January 2017 almost hit 7.5 million before falling sharply ahead of The XX’s Glastonbury performance.
Royal Blood’s massive boost in June 2017 can also be attributed in part to the release of its second album How Did We Get So Dark? on 16 June. Streams shot up from 51,009 in May to 1.285 million in June.
Saturday’s headliners Foo Fighters also saw a boost to streams in June, from a mean of between 46,000-76,000 streams per month to nearly 600,000 and rising to two million in September. Looking behind the data, Foo Fighters issued a new single in June 2017 ahead of the Concrete and Gold album, which was released on 15 September 2017. A Glastonbury performance was certainly part of this momentum building.
Foo Fighters enjoyed a solid performance on Spotify in the build-up to the release of Concrete and Gold.
Sharing the stage that day was Katy Perry, who also launched an album in June 2017 and saw her second-highest month of Spotify streams of 2017. Craig David also performed that day, but his June streams were only a quarter of the 4.2 million plays that he received in September 2017. This coincided with the announcement of his seventh studio album, The Time is Now, which came out in early 2018.
Of Sunday’s Pyramid stage acts, headliners Ed Sheeran and Biffy Clyro saw streams fall from highs earlier in the year. Sheeran’s peak had been 224 million plays in March 2017, coinciding with the launch of his album, ÷.
Ed Sheeran’s 2017 Spotify plays peak in March with the launch of his album, ÷.
Other notable mentions include June 2017 Spotify streaming peaks for George Ezra, Lorde, Alt-J, Wiley, and Haim, but Glastonbury 2017 does not appear to have boosted streams for Stormzy, Charlie XCX, Rag’n’Bone Man, or Kaiser Chiefs.
What the Data Tells Us
Clearly, for some acts, there is an apparent correlation between their appearance at Glastonbury and a significant rise in UK-based Spotify streams during the month of June, with some momentum carried through into July.
For artists who already had momentum going into June, it appears that appearing at Glastonbury has relatively little effect on their overall UK plays, especially the larger the act, as is the case with Ed Sheeran. When compared with artists who did not play Glastonbury and were between albums in 2017, such as Arctic Monkeys or Mumford & Sons, we see a fall in plays over June.
After a fallow year, Glastonbury 2019 provides a huge opportunity—especially for lesser-played artists—to drive awareness and plays. We look forward to exploring the impact of Glastonbury 2019 in the coming months!