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Live Nation reveals details on Download Germany

Live Nation GSA (Germany, Switzerland, Austria) has revealed more details about the inaugural edition of Download Germany.

The promoter today (14 September) revealed that US heavy metal band Metallica will headline the 2022 event, which will be the band’s only concert in Germany next year.

Metallica will be joined by heavyweights Five Finger Death Punch and Sabaton, both of which will be a 2022 festival exclusive for Germany.

Up to 10 acts will perform on a huge double stage at Download Germany, according to GSA, and more than 70,000 guests are expected to attend.

Up to 10 acts will perform on a huge double stage at Download Germany and more than 70,000 guests are expected to attend

It was previously revealed that Download Germany will take place on 24 June 2022 at the Hockenheimring, a motor racing circuit situated in the Rhine valley near the town of Hockenheim, which Live Nation GSA head Marek Lieberberg has prior experience with.

Advance ticket sales for Download Germany will start on 17 September at 12:00 CET, including passes for the interior of the racing track, as well as passes for the south stand.

The promoter revealed today that interior tickets cost €139 including parking and pre-sale fee and south stand tickets cost €159 including parking and advance booking fee.

Download Germany will be the UK brand’s fourth sister event. Other sites are Download Australia, which would have debuted in 2020, Download Madrid and Download France in Paris (both of which last took place in 2019).


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$1bn artists line up global tours as confidence builds

Some of the world’s biggest artists, collectively worth more than US$1 billion in ticket revenue between 2018 and 2020, will hit the road again in 2021 and ’22, as confidence builds for a return to international touring over the next 12 months.

Sir Elton John, Celine Dion, Metallica, Michael Bublé, Guns N’ Roses, Bruce Springsteen and Eagles – all of whom ranked among the highest-grossing tours of 2018, 2019 and 2020, grossing more than $1bn between them – have in recent weeks revealed plans for new or rescheduled global tours, many of them starting as soon as this summer.

Sir Elton has extended his disrupted final tour, Farewell Yellow Brick Road, with a bumper 30-date, six-month stadium run across across mainland Europe, the UK and the United States.


“Hello, all you wonderful fans out there. I’m coming to you today with an announcement I’ve been working towards for, well, all my life: the shows that I announce today will be my final tour dates ever in North America and Europe,” he says in a statement.

“I’m going to go out in the biggest possible way, performing at my very best, with the most spectacular production I’ve ever had, playing in places that have meant so much to me throughout my career.

“Whether it’s next summer in Frankfurt or at the legendary Dodger Stadium for the grand finale in the United States, I can’t wait to see you all on the road one last time. This has been an incredible tour so far, full of the most amazing highs, and I look forward to making more wonderful memories with you at these final shows.”

The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, Sir Elton’s farewell tour, was brought to a halt by the coronavirus pandemic last March, with the last show on 7 March 2020 at Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta, Australia. The tour resumes on 1 September at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin and will conclude in Australasia in 2023.

The tour, produced and promoted by AEG Presents, grossed $212 million in 2019 and $71.2m in 2020.

“I’m going to go out in the biggest possible way, performing at my very best”

Springsteen, who grossed an incredible $88.3m from his Springsteen on Broadway shows, which had an average ticket price of $509, in 2018, also has live plans for 2022.

As well as reviving Springsteen on Broadway, Springsteen confirmed to E Street Radio on SiriusXM he is planning a full tour with his E Street Band in 2022. “I knew we were going to tour with the band next year,” he said, “[but] I had a friend who got so enthusiastic about it [Springsteen on Broadway] that he talked me into it sitting on my couch one night. The next day I said, ‘OK, we’ll do some shows.’ It really came around kind of casually.”

Eagles, meanwhile recently added another six dates to their long-delayed Hotel California tour, which kicks off at Madison Square Garden in New York in August.

While the band has only announced the rescheduled US dates so far (the first leg ends at Chase Center in San Francisco on 23 October 2021), pre-pandemic the Live Nation-promoted tour included included dates in London (Wembley Stadium) and Los Cabos, Mexico (Cabo en Vivo), so it is expected that additional European and Latin American shows are still to be announced.

Eagles grossed $166m from their 2018 North American tour.

Metal titans Metallica earlier this month announced six European festival shows for 2022, adding to the open-air shows pencilled in for the US in September, October and November 2021.

“We have waited far too long to say these words: we’re getting back out there”

Under the banner The Return of the European Summer Vacation, the band will play headline shows at Denmark’s Copenhell, the Netherlands’ Pinkpop, Italy’s Firenze Rocks, the Czech Republic’s Prague Rocks, Belgium’s Rock Werchter, Spain’s Mad Cool and Portugal’s NOS Alive. .

“We have waited far too long to say these words: we’re getting back out there and are finally announcing our return to Europe in 2022,” say Metallica in a statement. “Needless to say, we cannot wait to see all of you once again as our European ’tallica Family will finally have a chance to reunite in June and July of next year.”

The festivals next year will be Metallica’s first European shows since their Worldwired global tour, which grossed a total of $179m in 2019.

Elsewhere, Bublé (who grossed $115.8m in 2019 and $24.8m in 2020) is resuming his An Evening With Michael Bublé tour in North America in August, while Dion’s (2020 gross: $71.2m) postponed Courage world tour will finally kick off the same month in Winnipeg.

Also resuming a postponed tour this summer are Guns’ N Roses, whose world stadium tour – newly rechristened We’re F’n’ Back! – will begin at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on 31 July 2021. The tour will include Australasian dates later this year and a string of European stadium shows next summer.

Opening the tour will be the late Eddie Van Halen’s bassist, son Wolfgang, with his band Mammoth WVH.


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Metallica sue Lloyd’s over postponed tour losses

Metallica have filed a lawsuit against Lloyd’s of London, claiming that the organisation relied on an ‘unreasonably restrictive interpretation’ of an insurance policy purchased to cover its 2020 South American tour.

The band were due to play six dates across the continent in April 2020 and say that they had acquired a standard cancellation, abandonment and non-appearance insurance policy to cover their losses if any of the tour was postponed or cancelled.

The Covid-19 pandemic initially saw those dates postponed until December 2020, before being postponed again. As yet, no rescheduled dates have been announced.

The suit says Lloyd’s denied the claim for losses based on a communicable disease exclusion, which Metallica dispute

Crucially, the lawsuit, filed last week in the Los Angeles Superior Court, says that Lloyd’s denied the claim for losses based on a communicable disease exclusion, which Metallica dispute, reports CBS Los Angeles.

As with previous lawsuits targeting Lloyd’s, such as those brought by Foo Fighters and Kanye West, it is likely the Metallica suit is targeting a specific Lloyd’s insurer or syndicate rather than the market itself.

Lloyd’s has not commented on the lawsuit, except to point out that it is not an insurance company, but rather oversees and regulates a market of independent insurers.


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K2 joins forces with Y Entertainment Group’s AGI

UK-based international booking agency K2, which represents the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden and Slayer, has announced a joint venture with investment firm Yucaipa’s umbrella of companies.

Under the new partnership, K2 joins the Yucaipa-owned international booking agency Artist Group International (AGI) in the Y Entertainment Group.

Yucaipa’s existing interests in the music industry also include a joint venture with Paradigm Talent Agency, a minority stake in Primavera Sound and Primavera Pro and an acquisition of US promoter Danny Wimmer Presents (DWP).

“I have had the pleasure of collaborating with [AGI chairman] Dennis and the team at AGI for many years,” says K2 founder and renowned music agent John Jackson.

“Not only is there mutual respect between us, but we share a similar philosophy and work ethic when it comes to our artists, agents and staff. As such, joining forces is the perfect fit and an opportunity to flourish on the global stage.”

K2 agency was launched in 2004 and in recent years has acquired UK companies EGO Agency and Factory Music Management and Agency.

“Joining forces is the perfect fit and an opportunity to flourish”

Founder of Factory Music Management and Agency, Sharon Richardson, brought to K2 her roster of over 20 rock and metal artists, which include Delain, Sabaton, Steve Harris’s British Lion and Metal Allegiance. The acquisition of EGO brought over company founder Jim Morewood, agent Yerry Stetter, and EGO’s largely heavy metal-focused roster.

Chairman Dennis Arfa says, “John runs one of the best agencies in the world. We’re thrilled to be working with him and his K2 team. We share many clients including Metallica, Ghost, and Volbeat and over the years have developed a natural synergy. We are pleased that our ownership has staunchly facilitated and supported our expansion efforts.”

AGI was founded in 1986 and represents artists such as Billy Joel, Metallica, Def Leppard, Rod Stewart and Motley Crue.

It was acquired by The Yucaipa Companies in 2011, with an eye towards expanding its reach in the live entertainment space through strategic acquisitions and organic growth.

The companies say plans for collaboration, expansion and diversification will be further revealed in the coming months.


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Spanish live industry reports another record year

The Spanish live music business generated a record €382 million (£333m) in 2019, representing its seventh consecutive year of growth.

According to the Live Music Yearbook, which is compiled by Spanish promoters’ association APM, turnover in 2019 exceeded the previous year’s record revenue by 14.6%.

Despite the positive results, the past year saw a deceleration of year-on-year growth, which had hit 20% and 24% in 2017 and 2018 respectively, following a cut in cultural tax in 2017 from 21% to 10%.

October, December, May, July and September proved to be the most profitable months of 2019, with more than €40m (£35m) generated in each.

The Spanish live music business generated a record €382 million in 2019

National tours by Manuel Carrasco, Marea and Alejandro Sanz attracted over 600,000 fans between them, with Carrasco alone selling 351,994 tickets.

In terms of international touring artists, Metallica and Ed Sheeran performed the best, drawing 122,000 and 108,386 fans respectively for just two shows each.

Morat, Muse, Mark Knopfler, Bon Jovi, Hans Zimmer, Bryan Adams, Bob Dylan and Rammstein were among other acts to visit Spain in 2019.

Formed in 2001, APM now has 78 members that together make up 80% of the Spanish live industry’s economic activity.

Last year, the association launched a festival arm, APM Festivals, as well as joining new Spanish music federation, Esmúsica.

Photo: Cristina Ruiz/Unnika (CC BY-SA 4.0) (cropped)


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The Gaffer 2019: John ‘Lug’ Zajonc

It was a hell of a year for John Zajonc in 2019. Having masterminded Metallica’s massively successful North American tour, within days he found himself in Europe overseeing a build for the band’s arena tour that he’d put together between stadia shows stateside.

But that was child’s play compared with what was about to happen. During a break in the tour schedule, Zajonc travelled to Saudi Arabia to help another long-term client, WWE, prepare for its Super ShowDown event, only to wind up in hospital after a massive electric shock.

“Let’s put it like this; I’m now officially retired as an electrician,” he reports of the incident that would certainly have killed lesser mortals. Thanks to his general levels of fitness, he lived to tell the tale, despite some horrific injuries. “I was electrocuted: 400 volts across my chest and back. The force of the shock  ripped my shoulders out of their sockets and broke them both.”

Within hours, Zajonc checked himself out of hospital and took himself to Amsterdam to resume duties for Metallica. But more on that later…

“I was electrocuted: 400 volts across my chest and back”

The memory remains
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Zajonc loved sport from an early age, playing soccer, baseball, ice hockey and “anything that could get me outdoors.” But it was an indoor pastime that would earn him a place in college. “I won a wrestling scholarship, but the plain fact of the matter was that I hated school, so I dropped out after a year,” the 51-year-old tells IQ. “My dad’s reaction was that if I wasn’t going to study, then I needed to work and start paying my way in life.”

Zajonc recalls some of the many jobs: “I drove a cab, I drove a laundry truck, I worked in construction – just anything to earn money, but I worked really hard. My dad’s mantra was that if I was going to dig ditches then I should be the best damn ditch digger in the world, so that’s what I tried to do.”

Perhaps noting that drive, a friend presented Zajonc with an opportunity to earn some extra money, helping out local firm Capron Lighting & Sound with some concerts. “I did two or three shows and I really liked it, so I stayed and ended up doing their Summertime Anytime beach parties. I just did whatever I was told to do and a guy called Steve Sergeant took me under his wing.”

Wherever I may roam
A couple of years after starting at Capron Sound, Zajonc got itchy feet and decided to give sport another shot.

“That’s the case with most people on the tour circuit – you learn on the job”

“I moved to Florida to become a golf professional,” he says. “It was a hard life and I soon realised that I didn’t have the right connections – I couldn’t find sponsorship and, unlike other people, I couldn’t rely on my family to support me financially, so I moved back to Boston and went back to Capron Lighting & Sound for a while.”

Eager to start moving up the ranks, Zajonc began bombarding people in the business with job requests. “Eventually, a friend at Show Power in California said he would give me a chance if I promised to stop calling him. So in the early 90s, I moved west and started to work on bigger tours.”

As Show Power’s new kid on the block, Zajonc threw himself in at the deep end and made sure he was always on hand to help out, no matter the task. That work ethic paid off.

“I got a job as the cable guy on a Genesis tour,” he recalls. “It was a nice gig as I had no responsibility really. I did that for four or five months, until the final show at Knebworth, but that’s when things really started to take off: from there I was straight on a plane to Hershey for rehearsals with U2, and then I was on the road for months with the Zoo TV tour; then Madonna; and then back to U2 again, and so on.”

“As a production manager, I’m also a part-time therapist, uncle and father to a pretty dysfunctional family”

By the mid-90s, he had worked his way up to electrical crew chief for tours by the likes of U2, the Eagles, Metallica and others. “I’m now certified, but I’m pretty much a self-taught electrician. That’s the case with most people on the tour circuit – you learn on the job – and, thankfully, I’ve worked across every department on the road, so I can turn my hand to most things, if needed.”

Things changed when Show Power was acquired by General Electric. “I had a desk job for a few months, but it really didn’t suit me working for such a big company. They didn’t want me to limit myself to entertainment, but I wasn’t really interested in some of the other stuff they wanted me to do, so it was time to move on.”

Turn the page
In 2001, alongside fellow road warriors Henry Wetzel and Carlos Oldigs, Zajonc established Legacy Power Services to provide concerts and tours with portable power systems and solutions. “Legacy has been great to work on – whenever I’m not out on the road, I’m back in the Legacy building in Las Vegas helping other productions with their electricity needs,” he reveals, talking to IQ from those Nevada premises.

Having amassed more than a decade of touring experience, Zajonc’s next step up the ladder came about when Scott Chase, stage manager for Paul McCartney was sidelined with an injury. “Scott asked me to fill in for him, and I spent the year with McCartney, followed by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill until Tim and his team asked if I would take on the role of production manager.”


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 87, or subscribe to the magazine here

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The decade in live: 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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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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The decade in live: 2017

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 memories of a turbulent 2016 were left far behind in 2017, as the concert business enjoyed a record-breaking twelve months, as the year’s gross revenue and number of tickets sold saw 2013 finally knocked off the top spot.

The success of the live business in 2017, however, was somewhat overshadowed by a number of devastating terror attacks, with the Manchester Arena bombing, the shootings at Route 91 Harvest and BPM Festival, the Reina nightclub shooting and other incidents targeting music fans.

In response to the tragedies, the live industry united and made a positive impact, in the form of the One Love Manchester and We are Manchester charity concerts and candlelit vigils and fundraising for victims of the Route 91 Harvest attack.

Elsewhere, the booking agency world continued to consolidate through 2017, with a number of acquisitions, mergers and partnerships while Live Nation welcomed several more promoters, festivals, ticketing agencies and venues to its fast-growing family.


2017 in numbers

The live music business reached new heights in 2017, with the top 100 tours worldwide generating a record US$5.65 billion, up almost 16% from the previous year.

The number of tickets sold throughout the year also saw a notable increase from the year before, climbing 10.4% to 66.8 million, at an average price of almost $4 more per ticket than in 2016, at $84.60.

Eleven tours surpassed the $100m mark in 2017, with U2 topping the year-end charts having generated $316m on their Joshua Tree tour. Guns N’ Roses narrowly missed out on $300m, grossing $292.5m on the Not in this Lifetime tour.

Coldplay came in next, as the band’s A Head Full of Dreams tour made $238m. Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic tour was also successful, grossing just over $200m, whereas Metallica’s WorldWired tour generated $152.8m.

Depeche Mode, Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks and Celine Dion were the other acts whose 2017 tour earnings exceeded $100m.


2017 in brief

A lone gunman attacks New Year’s revellers at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, resulting in the death of 39 people and injuries to a further 70. Two weeks later, four are killed and 12 injured during a shooting at the BPM Festival in the coastal resort of Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

AM Only and The Windish Agency rebrand as Paradigm Talent Agency, signalling the next phase of their joint ventures, launched in 2012 and 2015, respectively.

Global asset management firm Providence Equity Partners acquires a 70% stake in Sziget Festival and reveals plans to launch eight to ten branded festivals, with James Barton, former president of electronic music for Live Nation, leading the international expansion.

AEG Live finalises negotiations to acquire New York-based promoter/venue operator The Bowery Presents.

Ticketbis, the multinational resale operation acquired by eBay in May 2016, is rebranded as StubHub, bringing to an end the Ticketbis name across Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Live Nation enters the Middle East’s biggest touring market with the acquisition of a majority stake in Bluestone Entertainment, one of Israel’s leading promoters.

Iron Maiden’s decision to use paperless tickets on the UK leg of The Book of Souls arena tour helps reduce the number of tickets appearing on secondary sites by more than 95%, according to promoter Live Nation.

Live Nation acquires a controlling stake in the UK’s Isle of Wight Festival.

The Australian leg of Adele’s Live 2017 tour makes concert history after playing to more than 600,000 people over eight stadium dates.

The decade in live: 2017

Sziget Festival 2017 © László Mudra/Rockstar Photographers

In the biggest primary deal so far for the world’s largest secondary ticketing site, StubHub is named the official ticket seller for Rock in Rio 2017.

Creative Artists Agency increases its investment in the Chinese market via a new alliance with private equity firm CMC Capital Partners.

Luxury Ja Rule-backed boutique event, Fyre Festival, descends into chaos on its first day, with visitors to the Bahamas site comparing conditions to a refugee camp.

22 people, including children, lose their lives after a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena, for which Islamic State terror claims responsibility. The attack targets people leaving the 21,000-cap. venue at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

Pandora Media announces the sale of Ticketfly to Eventbrite. Despite purchasing the company for $450m less than two years ago, it sells for a package worth $200m.

AEG invests in Immortals, one of the world’s leading esports teams, with professional players in the North American League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Super Smash Bros, Overwatch and Vainglory leagues. The team will now play their Los Angeles tournaments and matches at AEG’s LA Live entertainment district.

The organisers of ILMC announce the launch of the Event Safety and Security Summit (E3S), a one-day meeting focusing on security at live events.

The decade in live: 2017

The reality of Fyre Festival © Here_Comes_the_Kingz/Reddit

Helsinki-based Fullsteam Agency acquires Rähinä Live, whose roster includes some of Finland’s biggest hip-hop and pop artists.

Oak View Group, which counts Irving Azoff and Tim Leiweke among its founders, completes its acquisition of Pollstar, adding the US-based concert business magazine to its portfolio of trade titles.

Madison Square Garden Company makes a significant move into the esports sector by acquiring a controlling stake in Counter Logic Gaming.

Paradigm Talent Agency acquires Chicago- and California-based agency Monterey International, including its 14 agents and 200 acts.

Live Nation launches in Brazil with former Time for Fun (T4F) chief entertainment officer Alexandre Faria Fernandes at the helm.

Three quarters of staff at Function(x), the online business founded by former SFX Entertainment CEO Robert Sillerman, are effectively laid off, with the company telling investors it lacks the funds to pay them.

A sovereign wealth fund controlled by the government of Saudi Arabia, says it is forming a new SR10 billion ($2.7bn) investment vehicle in a bid to kick-start the kingdom’s entertainment sector.

Music returns to Manchester Arena as a capacity crowd turn out for We are Manchester, a benefit concert that raises funds for a memorial to the victims of the 22nd of May bombing.

The decade in live: 2017

The We are Manchester charity concert drew a full-capacity crowd at the 21,000-cap. arena © Showsec

A gunman kills 58 people and injures a further 546 at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas. Local resident Stephen Paddock targeted the concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel.

WME-IMG rebrands as Endeavor, with company assets that include martial- arts promoter, UFC; ad agency, Droga5; Professional Bull Riders; the Miss Universe Organization; Frieze Art Fair; management companies, Dixon Talent and The Wall Group; and joint ventures such as Euroleague Basketball and esports championship ELEAGUE.

Ticketmaster confirms its long-rumoured expansion into Italy. The launch of Ticketmaster Italia, headquartered in Milan, follows the end of the exclusive long-term online partnership in Italy between Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, and CTS Eventim-owned TicketOne.

After 11 years in East London’s Victoria Park – now exclusive to AEG – Eat Your Own Ears’ Field Day Festival will head to Brockwell Park in South London. Live Nation’s Lovebox and Citadel are also rumoured to be moving to Brockwell Park.

Secondary ticketing websites will, from January 2018, be subject to stringent restrictions on their use of Google AdWords, as the search-engine giant cracks down on ticket resellers’ controversial use of its online advertising platform.

Leading self-service ticketer Eventbrite announces a series of new partnerships, rolling out integrations with events guide The List, festival package provider Festicket, word-of-mouth ticket sales platform Verve, and brand ambassador software Ticketrunner.

Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation Entertainment since 2010, will remain in his role until at least 2022 after signing a new five-year contract worth up to $9m per annum. Also re-upping are leading execs Kathy Willard, Michael Rowles and Joe Berchtold.

The decade in live: 2017

Primary Talent’s Dave Chumbley (1960-2017) picks up his Platinum Endurance Arthur Award at ILMC 25 © ILMC


Who we lost

Peter Rieger, founder of German promoter Peter Rieger Konzertagentur (PRK); Joseph Rascoff, business manager to the Stones, David Bowie, U2, Sting and more; ILMC’s long-time producer Alia Dann Swift; ShowSec International Ltd founder Mick Upton; Dave Chumbley, Primary Talent International director; Mary Cleary, former booker and tour manager; American singer-songwriter Tom Petty; pioneering concert promoter Shmuel Zemach, founder of Zemach Promotions; Australian country music promoter, agent and artist, Rob Potts; Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington; Reading festival founder Harold Pendelton; Washington, DC, promoter Jack Boyle; Live Nation Belgium booker Marianne Dekimpe; rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry.


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The O2 celebrates 25 million ticket sales

Twenty five million tickets have been sold for shows at London’s O2 Arena since 2007, the venue team announced today (22 October), following a busy summer with concerts by Ariana Grande, Travis Scott, Muse and more.

The 20,000-capacity O2 Arena, which was crowned the world’s busiest venue for the 11th consecutive year in 2018, has this year seen performances from the likes of Daddy Yankee, George Ezra, Post Malone, Cher and Khalid.

Bjork, the Chemical Brothers, Liam Gallagher, Krept and Konan, Little Mix and the Lumineers are all set to perform at the arena before the end of the year.

Since opening in 2007, the O2 has hosted over 2,000 individual performances and now holds an average of 200 events per year, covering music, sport, comedy, family entertainment and esports.

“To reach the 25 million ticket milestone is a huge achievement and we’re so grateful to have hosted so many artists for the first time this year”

“To reach the 25 million ticket milestone is a huge achievement and we’re so grateful to have hosted so many artists for the first time this year,” comments Emma Bownes, vice president of programming.

“London has the best fans in the world, and we’d like to thank promoters, agents, managers and our partners for continuing to work with us to help bring the very best performers from the worlds of music, comedy, sport and entertainment to the O2”.

Canadian rapper Drake was this year inducted into the venue’s ‘21 Club’, joining acts including Prince, One Direction and Take That to have performed at the London arena 21 times.

Take That hold the record for the most number of shows played at the O2, whereas the attendance record belongs to Metallica, who played to a 22,211-strong crowd in 2017.

Tickets are not the only thing being sold in large quantities at the O2. In 2018, the venue sold over 172,000 portions of chips, 72,500 hot dogs and more than 993,000 pints of beer.


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Metallica tickets placed directly on secondary market

Thousands of tickets for Metallica’s ongoing WorldWired world tour were placed on the secondary market before fans were given the opportunity to buy them at face value, according to an article published in Billboard late Friday (19 July).

In what Billboard describes as a “rare acknowledgment of an industry tactic little known to the public”, a Live Nation spokesperson confirms that, on occasion, the company has operated a “unique distribution strategy” that bypasses the primary market altogether for select high-value tickets.

The revelations came to light in a recording of phone call between Bob Roux, Live Nation’s president of US concerts, and Vaughn Millette, a wealth adviser-turned-concert promoter who had been tasked by an associate of Metallica, Tony DiCioccio, with selling 88,000 WorldWired tour tickets directly on resale sites such as StubHub.

In the 11-minute call – a recording of which was made surreptitiously (but legally) by Millette, and later obtained by Billboard – Roux told Millette that “Ticketmaster will not do it” (sell the tickets on the secondary market) and suggested he sell them another way, such as in a “singular account” of the type used for fan club or sponsor allocation. Roux warned, however, that “there may be some eyebrows that get raised” when thousands of tickets are placed in a single such account.

Millette – who Billboard notes is “building his own promotion business” and is ” now competing with Live Nation for clients” – sent the recording to Live Nation executives in June.

In a statement, Live Nation acknowledges the unorthodox methods used on the Metallica tour but says it only rarely places tickets directly on resale sites when requested by artists.

“Our standard practice is to use Ticketmaster’s Platinum, VIP and other tools to help tours price closer to true market value”

“Live Nation does not have a practice of placing tickets on the secondary market. Our standard practice is to use Ticketmaster’s Platinum, VIP and other tools to help tours price closer to true market value,” the statement reads. “In this situation, a consultant for the band opted to use the secondary market to try to capture that value.

“In 2016, Metallica performed a single show in Minneapolis at which more than 10,000 tickets were transacted on the secondary market without the band’s participation. After seeing the volume of secondary transactions for that show and the benefit being captured by brokers, the independent consultant worked with Live Nation on a unique distribution strategy that used the secondary market as a sales distribution channel for select high-end tickets.”

While Live Nation/Ticketmaster no longer operates any above-face-value ticket resale sites in Europe, the company’s CEO, Michael Rapino, has been vocal in his view that the secondary market exists primarily because bands under-price their shows. At the 28th International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in March 2016, Rapino told ILMC MD Greg Parmley that artists need to be braver in how they price the house, stating that on one hand acts are still scared to charge high sums for front-row seats and less for seats at the back, and on the other upset that secondary ticketing companies are profiting from it.

A source familiar with the Metallica deal tells Billboard the parties agreed that Metallica would get 40% of the resale revenue, Live Nation 40%, DiCioccio 12% and Millette 8%, though another source said Live Nation’s share was lower.

While Live Nation emphasises that it “does not distribute tickets on any platform without an artist’s explicit approval”, Metallica representatives told Billboard in June that the band were not aware of a deal between Millette, DiCioccio and Live Nation.

A Live Nation spokesperson tells IQ the occasional use of resale sites for ticket distribution is limited to North America, and does not extend to shows in Europe and further afield.


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