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© Daniel Gzz / Unsplash
© Daniel Gzz / Unsplash

The Concert Capital of the World Isn't the City You Think

Picture of Ryan Kristobak
Music Editor
Updated: 7 December 2017

Austin, Texas might call itself the “Live Music Capital of the World”, but, in 2017, that title rightfully belongs to London.

In fact, eight other cities have hosted more concerts this year than the home of SXSW festival, according to data gathered by Expedia. Analyzing Songkick data from nearly 370,000 concerts across 4,000-plus locations in the world, Expedia has determined that London leads the pack with 11,923 gigs, leaping ahead of last year’s top two cities, New York City and Los Angeles. Expedia’s report claims that grassroots music venues have played a major role in London’s musical success.

Also ahead of Austin were San Francisco, Paris, Chicago, Berlin, and Philadelphia.

Gigs per city worldwide | © Expedia

Gigs per city worldwide | © Expedia

While 10 U.S. cities made it in the top 15 cities around the world, Nashville, renowned for its country scene, is a surprising 12th in the top 15 U.S. cities, falling behind the likes of Seattle, Las Vegas, and Denver. San Diego, Boston, and Houston round things off, with the latter squeaking in the last spot at 2,971 concerts, while New Orleans is noticeably absent.

The rankings by state follow suit, with California coming in first with 25,805 gigs—no surprise considering three of its cities make the top 15. Texas also has three cities, but it ranks third behind New York by a margin of approximately 1,000. Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Michigan all make it into the top 15 states without any cities in the top 15.

Gigs per U.S. city | © Expedia

Gigs per U.S. city | © Expedia

While London, Paris, and Berlin were the only three European cities to make the global cut, the UK earns the highest crop of entries in the top 15 European cities with a total of six (London, Manchester, Glasgow, Brighton, Bristol, and Leeds). Germany follows closely behind with four (Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, and Munich), while the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Austria all claim a spot in the rankings with Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Vienna, respectively.

Gigs per European City | © Expedia

Gigs per European City | © Expedia

Just as with U.S. states, the European country rankings are dominated by those with the winning city players, with the UK, Germany, and France taking gold, silver, and bronze. Spain manages to earn the fifth spot without a city in the top 15, with Switzerland and Italy right behind it, while the bottom three are Ireland, Finland, and Portugal.

Gigs per European country | © Expedia

Gigs per European country | © Expedia

On a global scale, the U.S. overshadows the rest of the world with 179,585 concerts—over 10,000 more than the following 14 countries combined. Also entering the rankings are Canada in fourth, Australia in sixth, and Brazil in the final slot.

In examining the UK’s top gig cities, Expedia attempted to correlate student population with a location’s number of gigs. While the high ranking of cities like London, Manchester, and Glasgow indicates that concerts are more likely to occur in places with more students, cities like Birmingham and Edinburgh host far fewer students and still managed to make their way into the middle of the UK rankings, not far off Manchester and Glasgow’s totals.

It should be noted that this information is based solely on Songkick’s listed concerts, so the actual totals for each city most likely fluctuate to a certain degree. Head over to Expedia’s interactive site to dig deeper into the data for over 60 countries.