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Top 10 tours of 2018 all gross over $100m in record year

The ten biggest touring artists of 2018 brought in a collective US$2bn+, with all grossing more US$100 million each, in a year packed with “remarkable box-office feats”, according to Pollstar’s traditional end-of-year ticket sales chart.

As at mid-year and in Q3, and on the back of a raft of near-instant sell-outs for the 12th leg of his unstoppable ÷ tour, Ed Sheeran was by far the biggest tour of the year, jumping from the eighth spot in 2017 to claim No 1 in 2018. With a gross of $432.4m from 94 shows, the Sheeran tour is the highest gross ever recorded for an artist in a single year, according to the top 100 worldwide tours chart.

According to Pollstar, the ÷ tour is the first to top $400m, and one of only two to gross more than $300m, in a single year  – after U2 in 2017.

Taylor Swift, whose Reputation stadium tour recently became the highest-grossing in US history, is second, taking $345.1m from fewer dates, but with a higher average ticket price and higher gross per show.

Rounding out the top ten, with tour grosses in US$, are:

Live Nation was the top-selling promoter to the tune of nearly 40 million tickets – 49.6m compared to AEG Presents’ 11.6m – with AEG-owned Messina Touring Group third with 5.3m.

In total, the top 100 worldwide tours grossed $5.6bn, with 59.8m tickets sold.

According to PwC figures, the value of of the global live music business is set to continue growing through the rest of the decade and the start of the next, reaching $30bn by 2022.


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Taylor Swift uses facial recognition to ID stalkers

A kiosk showing film clips was surreptitiously fitted with a facial-recognition camera in order detect stalkers at Taylor Swift’s recent show at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

A special kiosk that broadcast footage from rehearsals – while concealing a camera which IDed viewers’ faces – was set up for Swift’s 18 May concert at the 90,888-seat stadium. The images were then sent to a ‘command post’ in Nashville where they were cross-referenced with a database of the star’s known stalkers, according to Mike Downing, chief security officer of Oak View Group.

“Everybody who went by would stop and stare at it, and the software would start working,” Downing, who attended the Live Nation-promoted show, tells Rolling Stone’s Steve Knopper.

Thought not without controversy, the use of biometric identification is growing in the concert business. Live Nation/Ticketmaster earlier this year invested in Blink Identity, whose technology, said CEO Michael Rapino, could enable a concertgoer to “associate your digital ticket with your image, and walk into the show”.

Swift’s Reputation stadium tour recently became the highest-grossing in US history.


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Reputation stadium tour becomes highest-grossing in US history

Taylor Swift’s Reputation stadium tour – which wrapped up in Tokyo on 20 and 21 November after six months on the road – has broken the record for the highest-ever-grossing US tour.

The tour, Swift’s fifth, has become the country’s biggest earner since Billboard Boxscore began tracking touring data in 1990, according to Billboard. Domestically, it grossed US$266.1 million and sold 2,068,399 tickets from 38 shows, beating the Rolling Stones’ $245m A Bigger Bang tour gross in 2005–07 – which took the band 70 shows.

The biggest shows of the tour (including the European, Asian and Australasian legs) were three nights at Metlife Stadium (82,500-cap.) in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on 20–22 July, where Swift grossed $22m and sold 165,654 tickets.

The Reputation trek – promoted by AEG’s Messina Touring Group and AEG Presents companies – became the highest-grossing US tour by a female artist in August.

Swift’s previous concert trek, the 1989 arena tour, was the highest-grossing globally of 2015, earning US$250.4m worldwide.


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Taylor Swift’s Reputation stadium tour becomes a record-breaker

Taylor Swift’s Reputation stadium tour has become the highest-grossing US tour by a woman, breaking Swift’s own previous record.

From the 27 US dates reported to Billboard so far, the tour has grossed a record US$191.1m, with an additional $11.1m earnt in Canada.

Excluding residencies, that makes the Reputation tour – notable for pioneering a ‘slow ticketing’ model, in which the dates are priced to sell out as close to the show as possible – the most lucrative ever by a solo woman, per Billboard’s Boxscore chart, beating the $181.5m grossed in the US previously by 2015’s 1989 world tour.

The Reputation tour has 11 US to dates to go before it heads to Australasia, then Japan.


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Look what you made her do: T-Swift in new TM blitz

Taylor Swift has filed a slew of new trademark registrations ahead of her impending fifth concert tour.

The US superstar, who is selling the first batch of tickets via Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan rewards programme, is expected to hit the road again next year in support of upcoming album Reputation (pictured). Swift’s last tour, the 1989 world tour, grossed more than US$250 million between May and December 2015, according to promoter AEG/Messina Touring Group.

New United States Trademark and Patent Office (USPTO) trademark/servicemark applications by Swift’s Nashville-based TAS Rights Management company include character marks for “LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO” and “THE OLD TAYLOR CAN’T COME TO THE PHONE RIGHT NOW” – both phrases from her record-breaking new single, ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ – and the word “REPUTATION” itself.

All applications apply to a range of tour-ready merchandise, including men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, jewellery, stationery, homewares, beach towels, guitar plectra and more.

Swift embarked on a similar run of new registrations in advance of the 1989 tour, applying for some 37 new marks, in what one trademark lawyer called the singer “marking her territory”.

Kiss frontman Gene Simmons in June abandoned a USPTO application to trademark the devil’s horns gesture – specifically “a hand gesture with the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb extended perpendicular” – for use in concerts.


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