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As Post Malone continues on a tour across five continents, Derek Robertson talks to the industry professionals helping the rapper to achieve his global ambitions
By Anna Grace on 09 May 2019
It’s been a while since there was a rise quite as meteoric as Post Malone’s. In three short years the rapper born Austin Richard Post in Syracuse, New York has gone from releasing his first mixtape, the ten-track August 26th, to becoming one of the world’s biggest music stars, selling out arenas around the world and collaborating with the likes of Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj.
It’s a trajectory that’s seen him smash records, dominate the charts, and crash into the mainstream in a way thought almost impossible in today’s fractured media. Stoney, his debut album proper, broke the 34-year-old record for most consecutive weeks on Billboard’s Top R&B and Hip-Hop charts, while beerbongs & bentleys, the triple-platinum follow-up, was streamed an incredible 78.7 million times within 24 hours of its release and nominated for Album of the Year at the 61st Grammys.
He’s also achieved such success on his own terms, relying as much on fan engagement and word of mouth as more traditional forms of marketing and promotion. And that passionate fan base has been out in force for Post Malone’s current tour, a 92-date, 20-country trip that has seen him sell over 750,000 tickets and cemented his status as Generation Z’s biggest – and most influential – musical icon.
This potential was spotted early – manager Dre London has been with Post since the very beginning, while agent Cheryl Paglierani at UTA came on board three weeks after the release of breakout hit White Iverson. Together with a dedicated team at label Republic Records they’ve guided Post every step of the way, building relationships with an array of talented creatives and a legion of promoters worldwide who tell us all about the tour’s concept and planning below.
“When you come to a Post Malone show, the wide range in audience age is astounding”
Announced in January last year, the North American leg covered 29 cities over May and June,
including two-night stints in both Toronto and Los Angeles, the latter at the legendary Hollywood Bowl. It all kicked off in Portland, Oregon at the 12,000-cap Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the day before beerbongs & bentleys hit the shelves, but Post’s team had no worries when it came to promotion; most dates sold out almost instantly.
“Post had had multiple #1 hits on terrestrial radio,” explains Paglierani, “and together with his success on digital streaming platforms, this has given him the ability to reach the masses. When you come to a Post Malone show, the wide range in audience age is astounding – from young teenagers to middle-aged couples to grandparents.”
Towards the end of the leg in late June, with beerbongs & bentleys’ fifth single, ‘Better Now’, riding high in Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, Post announced a “blockbuster” event, the kind that’s usually the preserve of bona fide, A-list superstars – his very own festival. Dubbed Posty Fest, the all-dayer took over Dallas’s Dos Equis Pavillion on 28 October and saw Post entertain 20,000 fans – tickets sold out in a matter of hours – alongside peers such as Travis Scott, and Tyler, the Creator.
Fresh from the triumph of dazzling his adopted home city, Post took time out from performing for the rest of the year to work on album number three, only returning to the stage again in late December for a two-night New Year celebration at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center in front of a combined 38,000 fans. But the break did more than allow Post to recharge mentally and physically before a gruelling 2019 schedule – it also gave his team time to prepare for the unique challenges of taking beerbongs & bentleys to Europe and beyond.
“The quality and originality of his music allows him to reach so many people from all different demographics”
“The quality and originality of his music allows him to reach so many people from all different demographics,” manager Dre London tells IQ. “We also had success in major international markets like Europe and Australia because Post had performed there previously in 2015 and 2016.”
Those initial performances outside of North America proved to be a perfect set up. “We expected the European leg to sell well because we’ve done a lot to grow his fan base out in the UK from the very beginning, but the fact that the first night [at The O2 Arena] sold out in pre-sale and the second night went that same day exceeded all of our expectations,” says London.
At first glance, Post’s stage setup seems relatively modest by modern pop-show standards – a long, low runway extending out into the crowd (lit from above by a movable lighting pod) in front of a plain backdrop, and flanked by two large video screens. But as production manager Dennis Danneels explains, this was a very deliberate decision – and is underpinned by a surprising amount of complexity.
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