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Top 10 tours of 2018 all gross over $100m in record year

Ed Sheeran's world-conquering ÷ led the charge in 2018, becoming the first tour to gross more than $400m in a single year

By IQ on 18 Dec 2018

Ed Sheeran's ÷ tour became the first to gross $400m in a single year

Ed Sheeran's ÷ tour became the first to gross $400m in a single year

image © Kmeron

The ten biggest touring artists of 2018 brought in a collective US$2bn+, with all grossing more US$100 million each, in a year packed with “remarkable box-office feats”, according to Pollstar’s traditional end-of-year ticket sales chart.

As at mid-year and in Q3, and on the back of a raft of near-instant sell-outs for the 12th leg of his unstoppable ÷ tour, Ed Sheeran was by far the biggest tour of the year, jumping from the eighth spot in 2017 to claim No 1 in 2018. With a gross of $432.4m from 94 shows, the Sheeran tour is the highest gross ever recorded for an artist in a single year, according to the top 100 worldwide tours chart.

According to Pollstar, the ÷ tour is the first to top $400m, and one of only two to gross more than $300m, in a single year  – after U2 in 2017.

Taylor Swift, whose Reputation stadium tour recently became the highest-grossing in US history, is second, taking $345.1m from fewer dates, but with a higher average ticket price and higher gross per show.

Rounding out the top ten, with tour grosses in US$, are:

  • Jay-Z and Beyoncé (On the Run II tour, 254.1m)
  • Pink (Beautiful Trauma world tour, 169.2m)
  • Bruno Mars (24K Magic world tour, 167.6m)
  • Eagles (An Evening with the Eagles, 166m)
  • Justin Timberlake (Man of the Woods tour, 151m)
  • Roger Waters (US + Them tour, 131.3m)
  • U2 (Experience + Innocence tour, 126.2m)
  • The Rolling Stones (No Filter tour, 116.6m)

Live Nation was the top-selling promoter to the tune of nearly 40 million tickets – 49.6m compared to AEG Presents’ 11.6m – with AEG-owned Messina Touring Group third with 5.3m.

In total, the top 100 worldwide tours grossed $5.6bn, with 59.8m tickets sold.

According to PwC figures, the value of of the global live music business is set to continue growing through the rest of the decade and the start of the next, reaching $30bn by 2022.


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