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Live revenues up, ticket sales down in H1 2024

Concert ticket sales revenue has topped $3 billion (€2.8bn) at the mid-year point for the first time, according to Pollstar data for H1 2024.

The record $3.07bn haul represented an 8.3% uptick on the $2.83bn garnered at the same point in 2023.

The gross was boosted by a 16% increase in the volume of shows during the period, as well as the average ticket price, which rose to $127.38 – up 9.4% year-on-year.

Nevertheless, worldwide ticket sales dipped slightly (0.7%) to 24,108,321, compared with 2023’s Q2 ticket total of 24,271,825. The rankings do not include estimates for Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour.

The average number of tickets sold per show was 10,767, down 14.9% on 2023’s record average of 12,655.

“For the first time in two-and-a-half years, the live industry has returned to earth,” notes the Pollstar article. “The stratospheric post-pandemic concert exuberance that swept markets across the globe starting in the US in the later half of 2021 and saw the concert business explode with continuous record-setting revenues, attendances and ticket prices is returning to a more traditional pattern of measured growth.”

The sales figures are still up on the last pre-pandemic year of 2019. Of the 2024 worldwide tours to report their data, Madonna’s Celebration Tour grossed $178.8 million in the period to lead the way, followed by Bad Bunny ($175m), Luis Miguel ($169.5m), U2’s Las Vegas Sphere residency ($134.7m) and Karol G ($111.2m), Bruno Mars ($102.2m) and Coldplay ($100.5m).

The top 10 was completed by Seventeen ($74.6m), the Eagles ($69.4m) and Nicki Minaj ($66.2m).

“The year’s lower mid-year indices reflect more of a correction than a catastrophic decline,” adds the Pollstar report. “And 2023’s box-office success story followed a 2022 still in recovery with box-office results well under pre-Covid norms. Box-office totals for this year are still higher than all the mid-year figures in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic and a year that saw a continuation of steady, multiple-year growth in the live industry.”


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Five blockbuster tours top $100m gross in 2023

A record five tours have grossed more than $100 million (€913m) in the first six months of 2023, as the era of stadium touring takes hold of the concert business.

In an industry-first, blockbuster tours by Taylor Swift ($300.8m), Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band ($142.6m), Harry Styles ($124m), Elton John ($110.3m) and Ed Sheeran ($105.3m) all hit the nine-figure mark in H1 2023, leading Pollstar to declare “the age of the blockbuster tour is upon us”.

Pollstar‘s Top 100 worldwide tours show double-digit increases on 2022, including a 64.7% upturn in average show gross, a 49.3% rise in average tickets sold and a 10.3% hike in average ticket price.

“You’re seeing the strength and the conviction of the consumers,” Live Nation president of US Concerts Bob Roux tells the publication. “The shift in discretionary spending to live events and experiences over things has given our industry a big boost over the last couple of years and that trend continues and is growing.”

The list of the top 10 live music tours is rounded off by Red Hot Chili Peppers ($91.5m), Coldplay ($65.4m), Daddy Yankee ($60.5m), Bad Bunny ($49.1m) and Luke Combs ($47.2m).

The report notes that tours by artists such as Beyoncé, The Weeknd, U2 and Metallica are expected to impact the rankings – and the bottom line – in the second half of 2023, as the gulf between the A-listers and the rest accelerates markedly.

“It’s a very select group of artists who are in the stratosphere with demand to see them on a whole other level”

Dennis Arfa, chair of the music division at the newly formed Independent Artist Group, says the results highlight how the top dozen or so acts (adding the likes of U2, Billy Joel, Beyoncé, Metallica and the Rolling Stones to the current top 10) are in a league of their own, dubbing them the “billionaire’s club”.

“It’s a very select group of artists who are in the stratosphere with demand to see them on a whole other level,” he says. “No matter what’s going on in the economy, they are as close to bulletproof as you can get.”

The top grossing promoters, meanwhile, were Live Nation ($1.66 billion), AEG Presents ($423.2m), Mexico’s Ocesa ($327.8m), and Australia’s Frontier Touring ($189m) and TEG ($143.8m).

Other European promoters to make the top 30 include the UK’s SJM Concerts at No.13 (1.6m tickets sold), Italy’s Vivo Concerti at No.14 (1.5m sales), Germany’s Semmel Concerts at No.15 (1.3m sales), FKP Scorpio at No.28 (763,935 sales) and Italy’s Friends & Partners at No.29 (560,826 sales). See Pollstar‘s full mid-year results coverage here.

Elsewhere, ASM Global recently reported the biggest year ever for stadium concerts at its venues, selling 1.8 million tickets for 41 shows at six NFL stadiums in the US so far to generate $360m, according to data provided to Venues Now by ASM EVP Doug Thornton.

Chicago’s Soldier Field and Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium have each hosted nine gigs in 2023, closely followed by Houston’s NRG Stadium on eight; State Farm Stadium in Glendale, where Swift kicked off her Eras Tour, on seven; and US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on six.


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