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Journal of the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association

Volume 20, Number 1 (2020)

Cancel, Postpone, or Reschedule: The Live Music Industry’s Response to Ticket Refunds During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Philip C. Rothschild
Missouri State University

Kendall A. Vowels
Missouri State University

Connor L. Rothschild
Rice University


The impact COVID-19 has had on the live music industry has been well documented. An unprecedented number of events have been canceled, postponed, or rescheduled. While ticket refund policies under normal circumstances are familiar, this paper addresses how ticket refund policies were applied during the pandemic. After a discussion of the economic impact of the pandemic on the live music industry, this paper provides a chronology of significant cancellations and offers a qualitative analysis and visual representation of the 261 major music events affected by the pandemic as reported by Billboard. The paper then extends upon the existing Billboard data by leveraging modern technological tools to make this data more complete and publicly available for research purposes. Following is an outline of the ticket refund policies of major promoters, independent promoters, and festival promoters and a review of some of the alternatives and incentives offered to ticket holders. The paper concludes with a summary of some of the legal and reputational ramifications faced by promoters and discusses questions for further research.

Keywords: ticketing, COVID-19, music, industry, touring, refunds, cancellations, reschedule, concerts

Rothschild, Philip C., Kendall A. Vowels, and Connor L. Rothschild“Cancel, Postpone, or Reschedule: The Live Music Industry’s Response to Ticket Refunds During the COVID-19 Pandemic." Journal of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association 20, no. 1 (2020): 45-83. https://doi.org/10.25101/20.2

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