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The decade in live: 2019

2019 has not been short of action, with the birth of ASM Global, OVG International and Eventim Live, LN’s best quarter ever and, of course, Viagogo’s $4bn StubHub buy

By IQ on 20 Dec 2019

Growing number of artists contract coronavirus

Pink's 'Beautiful Trauma' tour was the highest grossing of 2019


image © Andrew MacPherson

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.

The final edition of IQ’s decade in live brings us right up to the present day. From the turbulent early post-financial crisis years, the live industry has emerged triumphant, repeatedly setting new records and reaching new heights in the latter part of the decade.

A number of artists have cropped up repeatedly during IQ’s decade analysis with both Bon Jovi and U2 topping the year-end tour chart twice.

Other acts to perform well throughout the decade include Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift and Pink – with three top-five appearances, including one top spot, each; Beyoncé, with four top-five tours; Metallica with three; and AC/DC, Roger Waters, Coldplay, Guns N’ Roses, Bruno Mars and the Rolling Stones, who all achieved double top-five appearances.

Major industry players were hard at play in 2019, as Live Nation completed 20 acquisitions over the year, as well as recording its highest-ever quarterly operating income in Q3; AEG Facilities and SMG finalised their mega-merger to create ASM Global; Superstruct continued its run of festival roll-ups; Oak View Group launched internationally; CTS Eventim expanded its rapidly-growing promoter network, and much more.

However, perhaps the biggest deal of the year came from one of the live industry’s most controversial members – Viagogo. The company’s US$4.05 billion all-cash acquisition of fellow secondary ticketer StubHub signals that the secondary ticketing debate will carry over well into the new decade.

 


2019 in numbers

The live concert business is seeing out the decade in style, with new records set in gross revenue by the top 100 tours worldwide.

The ten biggest touring artists of 2019 brought in a collective $1.6bn, falling short of the more than $2bn brought in the year before, with 2018’s charts skewed by Sheeran’s massive Divide tour ($432.4m) and Swift’s Reputation stadium tour ($345.1m).

Sheeran was the man of the moment in 2019, as his colossal Divide tour became the highest-grossing tour in history after knocking U2 off the top spot in August. The tour wrapped up having generated $768.5m and sold 8.8m tickets over three years. The singer came in at number three on 2019’s chart, grossing $211.7m.

Pink, the highest-grossing artist of the year, generated $215.2 million on her Beautiful Trauma trek, which sold 1.8m tickets in 2019, adding to 2018’s 1.3m, and earning her Ticketmaster’s global ticket of the year accolade.

Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour came in at second, grossing $212m, with Metallica’s WorldWired tour at four with $179m and the Rolling Stones’ No Filter tour at five with $177.8m.

Twelve artists grossed more than $100m in 2019, one more than the year before, with BTS, Bon Jovi, Ariana Grande, Michael Bublé, Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney and Backstreet Boys, in addition to the top five, clearing the nine-figure mark.

 


2019 in brief

January
DEAG acquires the remaining 24.9% of shares in MyTicket from German publishing house Axel Springer SE.

Scandinavian promoter Beatbox Entertainment rebrands as Down the Drain Concerts, after its parent company Down the Drain Group.

February
More than ten million people “attend” EDM star Marshmello’s virtual concert in the popular free-to-play video game Fortnite.

Live Nation acquires or takes a majority shareholding in promoters Planet Events and Embrace Presents; marketing company Neste; festivals Blockfest and Tons of Rock; and ticketer Moshtix (through Ticketmaster).

Providence Equity Partners, the parent company of festival operator Superstruct, buys into industry leading staging specialist Tait.

March
Oak View Group (OVG), the US-based venue development, advisory and investment company co-founded by former AEG CEO Tim Leiweke and ex-Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff, launches its new international business at ILMC.

CTS Eventim announces plans to combine 26 of its majority-owned promoters into a new London-based, pan-European live entertainment network, called Eventim Live.

Australian promoters Michael Gudinski and Michael Chugg announce a new joint venture between their respective companies, Frontier Touring and Chugg Entertainment.

The decade in live: 2019

Marshmello performs in-game in Fortnite to over ten million people © Keneth Cruz

April
AEG Presents joins forces with Frontier Touring, Australia’s last major independent promoter, in a strategic joint venture that sees the companies merge operations in Australia and New Zealand.

Competition regulators examine the proposed mega-merger of venue behemoths AEG Facilities and SMG, as the companies look to roll up an international portfolio that includes more than 300 venues.

Providence Equity-backed Superstruct Entertainment takes corporate control of Global’s festival arm, amid rumours Broadwick Live is undertaking a management buyback of its events.

May
Superstruct Entertainment invests in Down the Drain Group, forming a partnership with the largest independent concert and festival promoter in Denmark.

BookMyShow, India’s largest online ticketing company, expands into the Middle East after signing a five-year deal with AEG Ogden’s Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai.

DEAG becomes the latest major live music player to invest in the fast-growing esports sector, acquiring a minority stake in ally4ever Entertainment, a specialist gaming events agency.

June
BTS-mania hits London for a second time, with the Korean pop superstars making history by playing to 120,000 people over two nights at Wembley Stadium – and another 140,000 fans across the world via a £21-a-head livestream.

Oak View Group (OVG) partners with Live Nation to build and run a new entertainment and sports arena in Santa Giulia in Milan.

DEAG acquires a majority stake in three promoters: Stuttgart-based C2 Concerts; I-Motion, the German division of electronic music behemoth, LiveStyle; and Swiss concert promoters Live Music Production and Live Music Entertainment.

The decade in live: 2019

Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena © AEG Ogden

July
Live Nation makes moves in Latin America, confirming it will acquire a majority stake in South America’s biggest festival, Rock in Rio, and in Latin America’s largest promoter, Ocesa Entertainment.

Google suspends secondary ticketing site Viagogo as an advertiser indefinitely, following pressure from industry organisations, anti-touting groups and politicians.

After five years as partners, London’s Coda Agency formally merges into its Los Angeles-based parent company, Paradigm Talent Agency, becoming Paradigm London.

August
Ed Sheeran’s ÷ tour becomes the highest- grossing concert tour of all time, breaking the current record of $735.4m set by U2’s 360° stadium tour in July 2011.

Superstruct Entertainment invests in Germany’s ICS, adding leading metal event Wacken Open Air to its stable of European festivals, which also includes recently acquired hip-hop event Parookaville.

Australasian live entertainment powerhouse TEG, the parent company of Ticketek and TEG Dainty, acquires the UK’s MJR Group.

September
Through its Swedish division, FKP Scorpio Sverige, FKP Scorpio acquires Stockholm-based promoter Woah Dad! Live.

Oak View Group launches the International Venue Alliance, a network of independent venues modelled on its US Arena and Stadium Alliance, with Silverstone Circuit as founding member.

AEG takes full control of its ticketing business, AXS, from co-owners TPG Capital and RockBridge Growth Equity.

The decade in live: 2019

Ed Sheeran’s ÷  tour became the highest-grossing of all time in 2019, generating a total of $768.5m © Ed Sheeran/Instagram

October
CTS Eventim expands into Russia, acquiring 51% of concert promoter Talent Concert International.

AEG Facilities and SMG complete their merger to create a single worldwide venue management company: ASM Global.

Private equity firm Silver Lake Partners acquires Australia’s TEG, adding to a live portfolio that also includes Oak View Group, MSG and Endeavor.

November
Upcoming shows by Spanish star Enrique Iglesias in Croatia, Belarus and Latvia are cancelled, as Iglesias’s agency, CAA, declares a lack of compliance on behalf of promoter Art BG.

In a landmark deal that brings together the world’s two largest secondary ticket sellers, Viagogo announces its acquisition of StubHub for $4.05bn in cash.

Just four months after its indefinite suspension from Google Ads, Viagogo advertisements once again appear at the top of Google’s search results as the ban is lifted.

December
CTS Eventim makes official its acquisition of a majority stake in Barracuda Music, formerly the largest independent promoter in Austria.

Live Nation makes its 20th acquisition or equivalent deal of the year, taking a controlling stake in the live entertainment division of Malaysian promoter PR Worldwide.

 


The decade in live: 2019

Keith Flint (1969–2019) © The Prodigy

Who we lost

Croatian concert promoter Jordan Rodić; the Prodigy frontman Keith Flint; singer-songwriter Scott Walker; Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading of UK band Her’s and tour manager Trevor Engelbrektson; VMS Live founder and managing director Steve Forster; Matt Ward, Manchester Arena’s head of event marketing and PR; ATC Live agent and LeeFest/Neverworld festival director Chris Meredith; SFX Entertainment founder Robert FX Sillerman.


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