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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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Coldplay set to become first band to net $1bn tour

Coldplay’s globe-trotting Music of the Spheres run could see them become the first band to gross $1 billion from a single tour.

The group topped Pollstar‘s Worldwide Top 100 Artists chart for Q1 2024, earning $100.5 million from 13 concerts, including six nights at Singapore National Stadium. The top 3 also consisted of U2, whose Las Vegas Sphere residency garnered $95.2m, and Madonna’s The Celebration Tour, which grossed $86.2m.

The Music of the Spheres World Tour, which was the fourth highest-grossing trek of 2023, kicked off in Costa Rica in March 2022 and has an average gross of $6.1m, with 43 stadium dates remaining.

At last count it had earned $810.9m, having been attended by 7.66 million fans.

“It’s no surprise to me that Coldplay has become one of the most successful touring acts of all time”

“It’s no surprise to me that Coldplay has become one of the most successful touring acts of all time,” the band’s international agent Josh Javor of WME tells Pollstar. “The band has been setting trends and pushing the boundaries of how fans experience a concert for years. This show has a great value for the ticket price and is one that attendees truly never forget – the amount of pure entertainment that the band packs into one show is unparalleled!”

Should they surpass the billion-dollar mark, Coldplay would follow in the footsteps of Taylor Swift, whose Eras Tour officially become the first tour in history to surpass $1 billion in revenue last December.

This June, Coldplay will become the first act to headline Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage five times. They previously topped the bill in 2002, 2005, 2011 and 2016. The date will mark the band’s only European festival appearance of the year. Revisit IQ’s Music of the Spheres Tour feature here.

According to Pollstar data, the total of the Top 100 Tours in the first quarter of 2024 was up 35% year-over-year to $1.252bn – passing the billion-dollar mark for the first time in a Q1.

 


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Banks, Fogel, The O2 among Pollstar Awards winners

CAA’s Emma Banks, Live Nation’s Arthur Fogel and London’s The O2 were among the winners at the 35th annual Pollstar Awards, held last night (7 February) at the Wiltern in Los Angeles.

Banks and Fogel took the honours for International Booking Agent and International Promoter, respectively, while The O2 was named International Venue of the Year.

Taylor Swift’s Eras was crowned Major Tour of the Year and U2’s groundbreaking run at the Sphere in Las Vegas claimed Residency of the Year, with the Sphere also winning the prize for New Concert Venue of the Year (Over 5,000 Capacity).

In addition, Wasserman Music was awarded Booking Agency of the Year, Austin City Limits won Music Festival of the Year and the UK’s Glastonbury Festival emerged triumphant in the International Music Festival category.

North American victors included Louis Messina of Messina Touring Group (Promoter of the Year), Adam Kornfeld of Independent Artist Group (Agent), Austin’s Moody Center (Arena), the Hollywood Bowl (Outdoor Concert Venue) and LA’s SoFi Stadium (Stadium). Legendary agent Howard Rose, who worked with major artists including Elton John, also received the inaugural Pollstar Lifetime Achievement Award.

Plus, Jon Bon Jovi was presented with a Milestone Award during his keynote Q&A earlier in the day, while Sphere Entertainment executive chair and CEO James Dolan was recognised with the Visionary Award.

A full list of Pollstar Awards 2024 winners is below:

Major Tour of the Year
Taylor Swift, The Eras Tour

Rock Tour of the Year
Metallica, M72 World Tour

Hip-Hop Tour of the Year
Post Malone, If Y’all Weren’t Here, I’d Be Crying Tour

R&B Tour of the Year
Beyoncé, Renaissance World Tour

Pop Tour of the Year
P!nk, Summer Carnival Tour

Country Tour of the Year
Morgan Wallen, One Night At A Time Tour

Latin Tour of the Year
Karol G, Mañana Será Bonito Tour

Comedy Tour of the Year
Dave Chappelle, It’s a Celebration Tour

Support/Special Guest of the Year
Brandi Carlile, P!nk

Residency of the Year
U2, Sphere

Family, Event or Non-Music Tour of the Year
Cirque du Soleil – Corteo

New Headliner of the Year
Jelly Roll

Music Festival of the Year (Global; over 30,000 attendance)
Austin City Limits Music Festival, Austin, TX

Music Festival of the Year (Global; under 30,000 attendance)
The Ohana Festival, Dana Point, CA

International Music Festival of the Year
Glastonbury Festival, Somerset, UK

Nightclub of the Year
9:30 Club, Washington, DC

Theatre of the Year
Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN

Arena of the Year
Moody Center, Austin, TX

Red Rocks Award – Outdoor Concert Venue of the Year
Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA

Stadium of the Year
SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA

Casino/Resort Venue of the Year
Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT

New Concert Venue of the Year (Over 5,000 Capacity)
Sphere, Las Vegas, NV

New Concert Venue of the Year (Under 5,000 Capacity)
The Salt Shed, Chicago, IL

International Venue of the Year
The O2 Arena, London, UK

Venue Executive of the Year
Jeff Nickler, Moody Center, Austin, TX

Talent Buyer of the Year
Amy Corbin, C3 Presents

Small Venue Talent Buyer of the Year (Under 10,000 Capacity)
Donna Busch, Goldenvoice

Bill Graham Award – Promoter of the Year
Louis Messina, Messina Touring Group

International Promoter of the Year
Arthur Fogel, Live Nation Global Touring

Bobby Brooks Award – Agent of the Year
Adam Kornfeld, Independent Artist Group

International Booking Agent of the Year
Emma Banks, Creative Artists Agency

Booking Agency of the Year
Wasserman Music

Independent Booking Agency of the Year (Global)
High Road Touring

Rising Star Award
Molly Warren, Live Nation

Personal Manager of the Year
John Silva, Silva Artist Management

Road Warrior of the Year
Jerome Crooks, Tool, Duran Duran, Billie Eilish

Transportation Company of the Year
Rock-It Cargo

Concert Visuals Company of the Year
Bandit Lites

Concert Sound Company of the Year
Clair Global

Tour Services Company of the Year
Dega Catering

Brand Partnership/Live Campaign of the Year
AMC, Taylor Swift Eras Tour Theatrical Exhibition

Marketing/PR Executive of the Year
Allison McGregor, Creative Artists Agency

 


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Pollstar co-founder Gary Smith dies at 77

Gary Smith, the co-founder of US concert business magazine Pollstar, has died aged 77, it has been announced.

Smith, who established the publication in 1981 as Promoter On Line Listings alongside Gary Bongiovanni, passed away “peacefully and unexpectedly” at home in Fresno, California on Saturday 20 January.

Smith led Pollstar – initially a service providing printed pages for subscribers to assemble in their own binders – throughout its history, overseeing the launch of weekly print magazine, the Concert Industry Consortium (now the Pollstar Live! conference and awards) and the magazine’s online presence.

Bongiovanni, Pollstar’s former editor in chief, retired in July 2017, almost a year after the company’s acquisition by Oak View Group.

“When Gary Bongiovanni and I got together, he had his files, he had his concept, and he had filed to incorporate Promoters On-Line Listings as a title,” said Smith in a 2022 interview. “It wasn’t that it was a cool name, but it describes what we did. It was an insider newsletter. The idea for promoters is that you could get information online even though we sent out a printed newsletter, and it wasn’t just the box office reports. We listed the avails of artists.”

Smith, who retired in 2018 after almost 38 years at the Pollstar helm, continued: “I’m glad to see that there’s a legacy that’s sustained. Maybe it will be remembered in some small way. I would hope so.”

Smith also worked in artist management and as a promoter for San Diego-based James C. Pagni Productions and later Papa Productions, working with acts such as The Doors, Tower of Power and The Guess Who.

“He was much beloved by the company he built and the industry he worked in and tirelessly supported”

“He was much beloved by the company he built and the industry he worked in and tirelessly supported,” says Andy Glen, executive editor of Pollstar and VenuesNow, on LinkedIn. “He will be sorely missed by many.”

Smith was also a long-time supporter of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), and an ILMC platinum delegate.

“Gary was such a lovely guy, a real gentlemen,” says ILMC MD Greg Parmley. “He always had time to chat, was always extremely welcoming and funny, and was a pioneer in building Pollstar into such a globally recognised brand. His passing will be very sad news to a great many people.”

Primary Talent’s Martin Hopewell also paid tribute.

“On the last night of one of the early ILMC weekends, I ended up sitting in the bar all night chatting with Gary – comparing conference organising notes, crying on his shoulder about things that had gone wrong and having a good laugh about the silly stuff that had gone right,” he tells IQ.

“That became a tradition – an essential way of ending an ILMC – with the pair of us staying up later each year until we finally agreed that the arrival of the hotel manager at 9am and a shared tray of bacon sandwiches would be our limit. Those nights – along with the many crazy stunts that we got involved in during the conference – are what I’ll remember of Gary. He was a lovely guy and I will miss him.”

 


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Official: Taylor Swift’s Eras is first $1bn tour

Taylor Swift’s planet-conquering Eras Tour has officially become the first tour in history to surpass $1 billion in revenue.

The American superstar has come out on top in an unprecedented year for the concert industry, with business up double-digit percentages in virtually every metric, according to Pollstar’s 2023 Year-End charts.

Total grosses for the Top 100 Worldwide Tours were up 46% to a $9.17bn (2022’s total was $6.28bn) and attendance was up 18.38% in total tickets sold to 70.1 million (2022’s total was 59.2m).

Swift took in an estimated ticket gross of $1.04bn, with 4.35m tickets sold from 60 shows, with the run calculated to have generated an additional $200m in merchandise sales, while Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour concert movie exceeded $250m in worldwide ticket sales, making it the highest-grossing concert movie of all time.

Pollstar projects that Eras Tour ticket sales will again hit $1bn in the next box office year, taking its overall total to more than $2bn.

“The live entertainment industry remains in the midst of a record-breaking Golden Era”

The rest of the Top 10 rankings on 2023’s Worldwide Tours are occupied by Beyoncé (No. 2), Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (No. 3), Coldplay (No. 4), Harry Styles (No. 5), Morgan Wallen (No. 6), Ed Sheeran (No. 7), P!nk (No. 8), The Weeknd (No. 9), and Drake (No. 10).

“This has been the Year of the Blockbuster, none earning that title more than Taylor Swift’s cultural takeover in Eras, Pollstar‘s first-ever billion-dollar tour,” says Ray Waddell, president of Oak View Group’s media & conferences division, which oversees Pollstar and sister publication VenuesNow. “The live entertainment industry remains in the midst of a record-breaking Golden Era, marked by innovation and creativity, artist development, and a paradigm shift in fan experience, as defined by the Sphere in Las Vegas and U2’s amazing run.”

The annual Pollstar ranking of the concert industry’s top performing artists covers shows held between 17 November 2022 and 15 November 2023.

Swift has led a touring boom in 2023, with more tours than ever grossing above $300m (three), $200m (seven) and $100m (17).

“This is precisely why FanFair Alliance is now pushing for the UK to adopt more consumer-friendly legislation that closes these kinds of loopholes”

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that secondary ticketing platforms are circumventing Australian regulations banning for-profit resale of tickets for the tour. The New South Wales and Victorian governments moved to crack down on scalping earlier this year after prices in excess of $3,000 were listed for the singer’s 2024 dates in Sydney and Melbourne.

The restrictions made it illegal to resell tickets for more than 10% over face value, with those that fail to comply facing large fines. However, the Times reports that Viagogo appears to have contravened the legislation by geoblocking resale tickets for the Australian shows and enabling fans from outside Australia to buy them. Viagogo has not commented on the report.

A spokesperson for UK campaign group FanFair Alliance tells IQ: “This is precisely why [we are] now pushing for the UK to adopt more consumer-friendly legislation that closes these kinds of loopholes, provides audiences with better services and outlaws the resale of tickets for profit.”

 


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Beyoncé scores top-grossing European gigs of ’23

Beyoncé’s multi-night stand at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has been crowned as the highest-grossing European concert run of 2023.

According to Pollstar, the singer’s five-show residency from 29 May to 4 June grossed $38,986,169 from 240,330 ticket sales to head this year’s pack. General ticket prices ranged from £50-200.

The UK concerts edged out Harry Styles, who finishes a close second on the list after his four Wembley Stadium dates, held from 13-17 June, generated $37,341,665. More tickets (335,394) were sold for Styles’ gigs, but at lower prices (£46.25-140.25).

Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres Tour occupies the No.3 to No.6 slots with the band’s four concerts at each of Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam, Netherlands ($30,322,573); Milan’s San Siro Stadium in Italy ($29,439,180); Barcelona’s Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys ($27,262,896) and Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg, Sweden ($26,242,821) from May to July. The top 6 engagements were all promoted by Live Nation.

Beyoncé’s record-breaking Renaissance World Tour officially wrapped at the start of this month

Elton John’s nine-date Farewell Yellow Brick Road residency at The O2 in London, promoted by AEG Presents/Marshall Arts between 2-17 April checks in at No.7, having earned $25,263,019.

Coldplay feature again at No.8 and No.9 with their four-show stops at Manchester UK’s Etihad Stadium ($24,164,085) – staged by SJM/Live Nation/Metropolis – and Coimbra Stadium in Portugal ($21,473,885) – presented by Live Nation – respectively, with the top 10 rounded off by FKP Scorpio’s Hurricane Festival in Germany ($20,065,948). The top 25 can be viewed in full here.

Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour officially wrapped at the start of this month after earning more than $579 million worldwide at the box office. The 56-date 2023 tour saw the star perform for over 2.7 million fans around the globe and set numerous records, including overtaking Madonna’s 2008/09 Sticky & Sweet trek to become the highest-grossing tour by a female artist ever.

 


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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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Bad Bunny tops 2022 mid-year tour rankings

Bad Bunny’s El Último Tour del Mundo is the biggest tour of 2022 so far according to Pollstar‘s mid-year rankings.

The Puerto Rican rapper sold 663,868 tickets in North America alone for a gross of $120.1 million (€118.1m), leaving Genesis’ The Last Domino trek, which generated $72m (€70.8m), a distant second ahead of Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road on $70m (€68.8m).

K-pop juggernauts BTS are fourth on the list, bringing in $69.3m, followed by Morgan Wallen in fifth with $58.3m. The top ten is completed by Eric Church, Eagles, John Mayer, Coldplay and Garth Brooks.

The figures cover the period from 18 November 2021 to 18 May 2022.

Revenue and ticket sales among the top 100 tours both dipped compared to 2019 levels

The report notes that revenue and ticket sales among the top 100 worldwide tours dipped 2.2% and 14.4%, respectively, compared to 2019 levels, although it is not a like-for-like comparison as not all venues were open to full capacity.

Worldwide gross was $3.5 billion (€3.4bn) from 46.8m ticket sales for 20,684 shows, down from 2019’s $5.1bn (€5bn) from 76.6m tickets for 35,903 shows.

Harry Styles led the way last year as 2021’s top worldwide ticket seller, while the Rolling Stones claimed the highest-grossing tour.

 


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Harry Styles crowned 2021’s top ticket seller

Harry Styles has been named as 2021’s top worldwide ticket seller, while the Rolling Stones had the highest-grossing tour, according to Pollstar‘s year-end rankings.

Styles sold 669,051 tickets for his Love on Tour arena dates, generating $86,723,984 (€76,916,720), to lead the way ahead of The Hella Mega Tour starring Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer, which moved 659,062 tickets. The Top 5 was rounded off by Dead & Company at No.3 with 588,658 ticket sales, Dave Matthews Band at No.4 (583,399 sales) and Phish at No.5 (572,626).

Completing the Top 10 were Jonas Brothers (No.6, 528,630), Luke Bryan (No.7, 522,966), the Rolling Stones (No.8, 516,624), Chris Stapleton (No.9, 516,395) and Alanis Morissette (No.10, 499,296).

By every measure, 2021 was both quantitively and qualitatively better than 2020

However, the Stones were head and shoulders above the rest when it came to revenue. The band, whose legendary drummer Charlie Watts died in August, generated $115,498,182 (€102,474,854) from their shows – almost $30m clear of their nearest contender, Styles.

“What a difference a year makes,” wrote Ray Waddell of Pollstar owner Oak View Group. “By every measure, 2021 was both quantitatively and qualitatively better than 2020, which was catastrophic.

“Every chart in last year’s Year End issue marked a precipitous drop in shows, revenues, ticket sales and all other touring metrics. This year, however, is a markedly different story, especially Q4, which augers exceedingly well for 2022.”

 


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Elton John records biggest tour in Covid-hit H1 2020

With gross earnings of nearly US$90 million, Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road was the biggest tour globally in the first half of 2020 according to the latest Pollstar box-office numbers.

The site’s mid-year Top 100 Worldwide Tours shows Sir Elton had grossed $87.1m from 38 shows, with a total of 664,749 tickets sold, when concert touring ground to a pandemic-induced halt in March. (The ‘mid-year’ reporting period runs from 21 November 2019 to 20 May 2020, though the final show of John’s only 2020 touring period, at Western Sydney Stadium in Australia, took place months before, on 7 March.)

Sir Elton’s AEG-promoted success down under outshone his nearest competition to the tune of $16m, Celine Dion placing second with Courage world tour, which played arenas in North America from September to March. Another AEG tour, Courage grossed $71.2m from 33 shows, with 408,407 tickets sold.

Third and fourth, and the only other artists grossing more than $50m, were Trans-Siberian Orchestra and U2, respectively, while fifth-placed Post Malone recorded $38.8m from 22 dates.

Live Nation, unsurprisingly, retains its crown as the number-one promoter; Madrid’s WizInk Center is a new entry for top arena, having sold 30,000 more tickets than second-placed Madison Square Garden.

 


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