Eamonn Forde discovers the latest string to the touring exhibitions’ bow…
There is a post-Napster and post-Spotify maxim in the music business that touring used to be the loss-leader to sell albums, and now that has been inverted so that albums are the loss-leaders to sell tours. How can that revenue be maximised if the act splits up, has passed away or fancies a few years lazing around in one of their multiple homes? By putting everything around them – clothes, artwork, instruments, scribbled lyrics, old contracts, unseen photos – on the road as they slipstream the boom in the touring exhibitions space.
Music is, relatively speaking, late to the party here but, as with most things in his career, Bowie was the innovator. His exhibition that opened at the V&A in London in 2013 (David Bowie Is…) proved a watershed moment for music-centric exhibitions, selling out its run, garnering critical praise, and now touring the rest of the world. The Stones’ Exhibitionism has left the Saatchi Gallery in London and go on the road, starting in New York from November. A major Pink Floyd exhibition will open next year, as will one around Abba (whose ‘touring’ since their split in 1982 was confined to the Mamma Mia! jukebox musical). It is suddenly getting very busy here.
What can music exhibitions learn from those already in the field? What can they do right? What are the mistakes they are likely to make? And how much money can they generate? IQ spoke to experts from around the world (dealing in family exhibitions, celebrity exhibitions, museum exhibitions and more) in order to understand what they do and how they do it.
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A year in the live of Laura Pausini
… To celebrate her remarkable year, Adam Woods talks to the team that has taken her spectacular Simili production around the world
In summer 2007, in the pouring rain, Italian star Laura Pausini became the first woman ever to headline Milan’s San Siro Stadium. Two years later, following the devastating earthquake in the central Italian town of L’Aquila, she returned, with 42 other female singers, to raise money for local charities.
This summer, she managed to raise the stakes again, with two nights at the 80,018-capacity San Siro as part of a full-scale tour of Italian stadiums – the first two-night San Siro stand and the first Italian stadium tour for a female artist.
Acknowledging her record-breaking stadium shows in Milan, Pausini tells IQ: “Coming back there this year was amazing – two nights in a row. I was freaking out until the moment I started singing on that enormous stage. I felt that I would be able to embrace all, just like the shape of the stage I drew for this tour.”
Pausini’s was the first two-night San Siro stand and the first Italian stadium tour for a female artist
On her first night at the ‘Meazza’, Pausini made an appropriately weighty dedication from the stage: “Questo concerto è contro la violenza sulle donne” (“This concert is against violence towards women”). After 23 years on top, Pausini remains a major star, and like all such artists, everything she does needs to make a point.
The tour that followed went on to do the same. After five Italian shows, and across two further legs, Pausini toured what you might call the Pausini-speaking world, whirling through North and South American arenas before a set of European dates. For anyone unfamiliar with the 70 million-selling Pausini and her regular world tours, the route is a remarkable one, only partly explained by the fact that she has released both Italian and Spanish versions of eight of her nine most recent albums.