As the live industry prepares to enter 2020 after a decade-long boom, IQ looks back at the major events that have shaped the business in the past ten years
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The second in IQ’s series of year reviews, 2011 was a year of mixed fortunes for the live biz but saw success in U2’s 360° tour, which broke all-time grossing records
By IQ on 10 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.
Following on from the 2010 synopsis, IQ looks to 2011, a year in which rising unemployment and astronomical national debts continued to take its toll on spending habits. The live industry experienced a slower period, indicating signs of maturity after years of fast growth.
Extreme weather led to festival cancellations and, tragically, the loss of lives at Pukkelpop and Indiana State Fair. Festival attendance, however, stayed strong, with festival bosses commenting that the demand for festivals was definitely still there.
2011 also saw U2 take the crown for the most successful concert tour in history, dethroning the Rolling Stones with their mammoth 360° tour. The Irish rockers were on course to retain the record into the new decade, too, before Ed Sheeran came along.
2011 in numbers
Worldwide, the top 50 tours grossed US$3.07 billion in 2011, up from $2.9bn the previous year.
According to Pollstar, U2 were the most successful band of 2011. A back injury sustained by Bono in 2010 saw many dates on the 360° tour postponed to the following year, with the band selling 2.4 million tickets over the year – at an average price of $97 each.
The stadium tour, which typically drew crowds of almost 92,000 per show, grossed $231.9m in 2011, adding to the $133.6m earned on the 2010 leg.
Other major tours of 2011 included Take That’s reunion tour with Robbie Williams ($224m), the Bon Jovi Live tour ($148.8), Taylor Swift’s Speak Now tour ($104.2m) and Roger Waters’ The Wall Live tour ($103.6m).
2011 in brief
AEG opens the 52,000-cap. Türk Telekom Arena in Istanbul, later winning the contract to manage the 12,500-cap. Ülker Arena in the same city.
Serbia’s Exit Festival ends its business relationship with Charmenko agency and begins booking international artists directly.
Ticketmaster buys Spanish ticketing company ServiCaixa, allowing it to sell tickets through over 8,000 ATMs owned by financial services company and bank La Caixa.
Live Nation takes full control of Front Line Management, with its founder Irving Azoff becoming chairman of the Live Nation board, taking over from Liberty Media’s John Malone.
Nelly Furtado announces she is giving the $1m fess she was paid for performing in front of Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi in 2007 to charity. Beyoncé follows suit.
President of Madison Square Garden Jay Marciano moves to London to take up a new role as CEO of AEG Europe.
Irving Azoff took over as Live Nation chairman in 2011 (© Full Stop Management)
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) figures show that global music sales fell $1.4bn in 2010, with the UK market dropping 11%, the US dropping 10% and Japan dropping 8.3%.
U2’s 360° tour becomes the highest-grossing tour of all time, beating the Rolling Stones’ Bigger Bang tour record of $554m. 360° is set to gross over $700m by the time it ends.
US ticketing company Eventbrite, which integrates social media and mobile, announces a $50m influx of venture-capital finance.
Gil Scott-Heron dies in New York at the age of 62.
German festival promoter Folkert Koopmans announces his second Swedish festival in Norrköping, the 50,000-cap. Bråvalla Festival, following the January acquisition of Hultsfred Festival.
Bloomberg reports that AEG plans to refinance the O2 Arena in London with a £150m ($240m) loan and equity injection.
Promoter Vince Power raises £6.5m ($10.4m) by floating his company, Music Festivals, on London’s Alternative Investment Market exchange.
SMG secures a management contract for Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile, its first in South America.
AEG launches its new ticketing system, AXS, in several Denver and San Francisco theatres. The system includes a mobile app and social media integration.
Belgium’s Pukkelpop creates a private foundation to support the victims of the storm that claimed five lives at the festival on 19 August.
Global entertainment giant Vivendi buys UK number two ticketer See Tickets for a sum thought to be around £80m ($128m).
eBay announces it will launch secondary resale platform StubHub in the UK, the first market it will have operated in outside of the US.
Santiago’s Movistar Arena (© Movistar Arena)
German powerhouse FKP Scorpio continues its buying spree by taking a majority stake in Sweden’s Getaway Festival.
2011’s biggest-selling artist, Adele, undergoes throat surgery to repair damaged vocal chords, forcing her to cancel all remaining tour dates and promotional appearance for the year.
Bankers Citigroup agree to sell EMI Music to Universal Music Group for $1.9bn, while EMI Music Publishing will become part of Sony ATV in a $2.2bn deal.
Michael Jackson’s physician, Dr Conrad Murray, is found guilty of manslaughter.
Live Nation emerges victorious in the saga for the rights to run the new €134m 15,000-capacity arena in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Seatwave chief Joe Cohen denies speculation the ticket resale company is in financial trouble, despite reports it has amassed losses of €40m since 2007.
Amy Winehouse (1983-2011) © Republic Records (cropped)
Who we lost
In 2011, the music industry lost a number of important figures, including Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty, 63; agent Ron Baird, who opened CAA’s Nashville office in 1991, 60; legendary soul and jazz musician Gil Scott Heron, 62; Willie Robertson, co-founder of insurance specialist Robertson Taylor, 67; award-winning singer Amy Winehouse, 27; Academy Music Group founder John Northcote, 62.
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