Artist manager Michael Lambert gives a 'younger' professional's view on the importance of live shows and the way we approach the most essential people: the fans
Sign up for IQ Index
The latest industry news to your inbox.
As the live industry prepares to enter 2020 after a decade-long boom, IQ looks back at the major events and deals that have shaped the business over the past ten years
By IQ on 05 Dec 2019
The start of a new year and, perhaps more significantly, a new decade is fast approaching – and while many may be thinking ahead to New Year’s Eve plans and well-meaning 2020 resolutions, IQ is casting its mind back to the most pivotal industry moments of the last ten years.
Over the coming weeks, IQ will be bringing you a complete, chronological review of each year in the live business, from the beginning of the decade right up to the present day.
Kicking things off, we take a look at 2010 – the year that marked both the end of the first decade of the 21st century and the start of a new chapter.
At the start of this decade, the world was slowly recovering from the global financial crisis, with a continued shortage of disposable income for fans leading to the underperformance or cancellation of a number of concerts, tours and festivals, particularly in the United States.
The appearance of an unbudging volcanic ash cloud above Iceland also briefly took its toll on the live business, causing the closure of international airspace and the disruption of several high-profile tours.
The year also saw some several major mergers and acquisition, including arguably the deal of the decade, as Live Nation and Ticketmaster completed their merger.
2010 in numbers
According to Pollstar figures, the top 50 global tours of 2010 grossed a combined US$2.9 billion, down 12% from the year before.
The top five highest grossing tours of the year were Bon Jovi’s Circle ($201.1 million), AC/DC’s Black Ice World Tour ($177m), U2’s 360° ($160.9m), Lady Gaga’s The Monster Ball Tour ($133.6m) and Metallica’s World Magnetic Tour ($110.1m).
Over the year, a total of 38.3m tickets were sold to 2,650 shows, 7m fewer than in 2009, which also saw 8%, or around 200, more concerts. The average ticket price did rise in 2010, however, by 4% ($2.90) from the previous year.
Who we lost
In 2010, the music industry lost some legends, including Mark Linkhous of Sparklehorse, 47; former Sex Pistols manager and musician Malcolm McLaren, 64; heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio, 67; veteran agent Barbara Skydel of William Morris Entertainment, 70; Dave Kirby, founder of booking agency the Kirby Organization, 56.
2010 in brief
The US Justice Department clears the merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment, forming the world’s largest live entertainment company. At the time, the behemoth owned 140 venues worldwide, promoted 22,000 concerts and sold 140 million tickets a year and managed the careers of over 200 artists.
Beyonce Knowles wins six Grammys at the annual US music awards shows, more than any other woman in a single night in the 52-year history of the awards.
All Good Entertainment files a $300m suit against Michael Jackson’s estate, AEG Live and others, claiming it had a contract with him and his family for a reunion concert.
Live Nation, FKP Scorpio and Exit festival all announce that they are testing cashless payment systems at festivals in the summer.
Michael Jackson’s estate signs a record-breaking $200m deal with Sony Music Entertainment for ten projects over seven years.
Beyonce won six awards at the 2010 Grammys © idrewuk/Wikimedia Commons (CC By 2.0) (cropped)
Live Nation announces the launch of an Australian office in Melbourne, just weeks after it sets up in Germany.
Ash from an Icelandic volcano closes airspace in Europe destroying many tour plans and promotional campaigns.
CTS Eventim purchases the remaining 49.8% of shares it didn’t already own in Italian ticket company TicketOne for €20.6m ($25.5m).
Manchester Evening News Arena is bought by Development Securities for £62m ($90m) and venue manager SMG Europe announces a 25-year deal with the new owner.
Stevie Wonder wraps up Glastonbury Festival with a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ as the 177,000-capacity event celebrates its 40th anniversary with blazing sunshine and a sell-out crowd.
Partners at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) acknowledge that the agency is in discussions with a private equity firm to buy a share of the company worth up to $250m.
A scorching Glastonbury 2010 © MojoBaron/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0) (resized)
Ticket giant CTS Eventim buys See Tickets Germany and Ticket Online Group for €145m ($180) and secures exclusive ticketing rights to all Stage Entertainment Germany shows.
Twenty one die and over 500 are injured at the Love Parade festival in Duisberg, Germany, when panic breaks out in an entrance/exit tunnel to the event.
Veteran agent Brett Murrihy of Premier Harbour Agency launches a new company, Artist Voice, with Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Group.
Deutsche Entertainment AG forms Gold Entertainment after purchasing two thirds of promoter Manfred Hertlein Veranstaltungs, to focus on the “grey gold” market.
Germany’s Federal Cartel Office launches a retrospective probe into CTS Eventim’s €145m purchase of See Tickets Germany and Ticket Online Group.
A survey of 414 ticketing sites by regulators across Europe finds that 247 are breaking consumer laws and will be investigated further by authorities.
Bon Jovi’s Circle tour was the highest grossing of 2010 © Miyagawa/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)
CAA announces a strategic partnership with investment firm TPG Capital, which takes a 35% non-controlling stake in the agency.
Take That sell 1.35m tickets for its 2011 stadium tour featuring Robbie Williams, with demand crashing ticket websites and phone lines.
Live Nation buys France’s second largest ticketing company, Ticketnet, for an undisclosed sum.
David Campbell, chief executive of the O2 in London, departs the world’s top arena to work for Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Management.
Live Nation sells the 1,800-capacity Stockholm Circus to a syndicate that includes executives Thomas Johansson and Carl Pernow.
Take That perform as part of their 2011 Progress Live tour © vagueonthehow/Flickr (CC by 2.0)
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.