FKP’s Ed Sheeran tour ends with 750,000 tickets sold
As Ed Sheeran closed the latest European leg of his ÷ tour at the PGE Narodowy Stadium in Warsaw, Poland, organisers FKP Scorpio celebrated their most successful tour to date. Across shows in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Poland, a total of 750,000 tickets were sold, numbers which only go further to cementing Sheeran’s place as the most successful musician in the world today.
Among the list of successful sell-out shows was his July performance at Hamburg’s Trabrennbahn Bahrenfeld stadium which attracted 80,000 people, Sheeran’s biggest crowd in mainland Europe this year. Following in the footsteps of rock legends like the Rolling Stones and Foo Fighters, who have both played the venue in the last year, Sheeran’s one-man show impressed fans, organisers and local officials alike.
“An artist who can capture a giant stadium all on his own, while creating such a relaxed and indeed magical atmosphere, demonstrates true art.”
Speaking of the unprecedented success of the ÷ tour, FKP managing director Folkert Koopmans says: “The huge crowds of fans that Ed Sheeran now attracts speak for themselves.
“An artist who can capture a giant stadium all on his own, while creating such a relaxed and indeed magical atmosphere, demonstrates true art. His tour is the largest that we, as his promoter, have organised in recent months – even bigger than the Rolling Stones.”
2018 has been Sheeran’s most successful to date. Alongside some 750,000 ticket sales in Europe alone and record-smashing runs in Australasia, the ÷ tour’s performance worldwide has earned him the top spot on Pollstar’s mid-year Top 100 Tours chart. With 2,624,148 tickets sold globally – equalling profits of $213.9 million – in the first half of the year, the rest of 2018 is projected to be just as fruitful for the Yorkshire-born singer-songwriter.
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Glass Animals drummer seriously injured in bike accident
English indie rock band Glass Animals have cancelled the remainder of their 2018 tour dates, as well as support shows with Beck, after drummer Joe Seaward was seriously injured in a road accident.
In a statement on the band’s Instagram page, frontman Dave Bayley explained Seaward had been hit by a truck whilst on his bike in Dublin. After breaking his leg on impact, Seaward then became tangled in the truck’s trailer, where he sustained a complex fracture to his skull.
“Miraculously and thankfully, he is alive,” the statement reads. Seaward has since been operated on twice, once to help his leg and the other to reshape his fractured skull. The operation to corrected his skull initially left him unable to speak properly. Bayley writes: “The operation was successful, but the collapsed skull had bruised and damaged the area of the brain responsible for speech.
“Miraculously and thankfully, he is alive”
“Initially Joe was only able to get out one word… ‘I’… but each day he is finding more.”
Since the two operations, Bayley says the drummer is making good progress. Trying to soften the blow to fans and lighten the news, Bayley jokes that the pins now holding the two halves of Seawards femur together means, “basically he is now Wolverine.”
The band have apologised for not being able to make the shows, with the statement saying that Seaward’s injuries are not likely to heal in time to make any shows before the end of the year.
Glass Animals shows that have been cancelled include a sold-out show in Tampa, Florida, as well as shows in the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and France and festival appearances at Mad Cool and Velorama. All tickets for shows will be refunded at the point of purchase.
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Touring powerhouses bow out
In a string of announcements, two of the biggest names in global touring, along with several other veterans of the live scene, have revealed they are to quit touring.
Legendary crooner Neil Diamond – one of the best-selling artists in music history, and still a major live draw, placing no20 on Pollstar’s end-of-year top 100 in 2015, the year of his previous concert tour – announced his retirement on Tuesday after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Commenting after the cancellation of a string of his 50th Anniversary tour dates in Australia and New Zealand, Diamond said: “My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement.”
Alluding to his song ‘Sweet Caroline’, he added: “This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’, thanks to you.”
Diamond was followed yesterday by 70-year-old Sir Elton John, who announced at a press conference in New York that 2018–2021’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, promoted by AEG Presents, would be his last.
“I’m very much looking forward to closing off that chapter of my life”
“I’ve had an amazing life, amazing career,” he said. “My priorities now are my children, my husband and my family and I’ve been touring since I was 17 with various bands, then as Elton John in 1969, and I thought the time was right to say thank you to all my friends around the world globally and then to say goodbye and just to have a breather.”
“After the tour finishes, I’m very much looking forward to closing off that chapter of my life by saying farewell to life on the road,” he added. “I need to dedicate more time to raising my children.”
The tour kicks off in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on 8 September, and will consist of 300 shows across five continents, visiting North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, South America and Australasia.
Also bowing out are metal pioneers Slayer, who after 37 years are calling a day with a global farewell tour, and Spanish singer-songwriter legend Joaquín Sabina – while Canadian prog-rock heroes Rush have confirmed they quit touring in 2016 and have no plans to return to the road.
“It’s been a little over two years since Rush last toured,” guitarist Alex Lifeson explains to the Globe and Mail. “We have no plans to tour or record any more. We’re basically done. After 41 years, we felt it was enough.”
Top 100 tours grossed $5.65bn in 2017
The 100 biggest concert tours of 2017 collectively generated a huge US$5.65bn in revenue – a 15.8% year-on-year increase – in a “record-crushing” year for the international live music business.
That’s according to the 2017 edition of Pollstar’s traditional year-end special features, which track the value of the year’s biggest tours, promoters, arenas, festivals, individual concert grosses and more. The top 100 worldwide tours chart, topped by U2’s Live Nation-promoted Joshua Tree 2017 tour, also shows the tickets sold by the top 100 reached a new record high of 66.79 million – a 10.4% increase on 2016.
Average ticket prices rose by nearly 5% to $84.63, with 11 tours generating more than $100m worldwide – U2, Guns N’ Roses, Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Metallica, Depeche Mode, Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks and Celine Dion – compared to 2016’s seven.
Tickets sold by the top 100 tours reached a new record high of 66.79 million – a 10.4% increase on 2016
This, says Pollstar, demonstrates that “the most successful artists are clearly getting better at recapturing some of the revenue that had leaked into the secondary ticket market”, with Taylor Swift’s tout-beating ‘slow ticketing’ model putting her in pole position for the biggest tour of 2018.
Other headline year-end figures include Live Nation once again taking the number-one promoter spot, reporting a record 52.2m tickets sold, followed by AEG Presents (14.4m tickets), Mexico’s Ocesa (4m), Feld Entertainment (3.2m) and SJM in the UK (2.4m); Goldenvoice’s Coachella generating 2017’s biggest festival gross, at $114.6m over two weekends; and the UK punching above its weight in the top 100 arenas chart, with first-placed The O2, third-placed Manchester Arena and fourth-placed SSE Hydro leading a British invasion of the top five.
The top 20 venues, especially, show the “importance of the growing global concert market”, says Pollstar – confirming the findings of PwC, which noted the business is becoming “increasingly international”, earlier this year – with only seven located in the US; five are in the UK, two in Mexico and one each in Germany, Spain, Canada, France, the Netherlands and Belgium.
He’s only Human: The rise and rise of Rag’n’Bone Man
Last year, Rag’n’Bone Man became the first new British act to truly break through a market that had been stagnant for the best part of a year.
After charting at no1 across Europe with lead single ‘Human’, his debut album hit the top of the UK charts in February and he’s just played three sold-out shows at the 5,000-capacity Brixton Academy in London as part of a 19-date European tour. For those who weren’t behind the scenes, the Sony-signed artist was an overnight success. However, it was a robust live strategy devised three years prior and led by agent Alex Hardee at Coda that built a strong foundation for what was to come.
From the start, Hardee’s strategy has been to underplay capacity in order to keep building demand. He explains: “We knew at an early stage that Rag’n’Bone Man was going to have a successful live career as we could see the reaction among fans, and he was selling tickets even before things took off on radio. We always believed in his live talent; even when we had no headline media we knew it was just a matter of time before radio caught up.” When radio did catch up, it was with ‘Human’ in Germany, where the track ended 11 weeks at no1 on the singles chart in November 2016. It also peaked at no2 in the UK and France, and charted at no1 in Austria, Belgium and Switzerland.
Rag’n’Bone Man’s first headline tour took place in four club venues across the UK in 2014, followed by six more shows in March 2015. In November 2016, he played four shows on Tom Odell’s tour and then sold-out the majority of an 18-date European headline run ranging from small clubs to 2,000-cap. venues. He returned to play 21 more dates in bigger venues in early 2017, including two at the 2,000-cap. Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London. His latest headline tour, the Overproof tour, took in two shows at Glasgow Academy (2,500) and Manchester’s O2 Apollo (3,500), alongside the three at Brixton and ten across the rest of Europe in October and November. A further European run will take place from February to May 2018 under the name of the Grande Reserve tour, and he’ll visit Australia and New Zealand in between.
In London, a sold-out show at the 10,000-cap. Alexandra Palace will take place in March 2018. Hardee’s booker Matt Hanner, who took over from Andy Clayton a year ago, says: “We’ve slowly stepped up his profile in London where we’ve always sold out, and we continued to try and do that to make sure there was demand for that next jump. That meant we felt comfortable doing three Brixtons, and instead of pushing on to doing arenas, we’ve sold out Ally Pally and left demand in the market for the next campaign.”
“Instead of pushing on to doing arenas, we’ve sold out Ally Pally and left demand in the market for the next campaign
Kilimanjaro Live promoter Carlo Scarampi has been working London and Rag’n’Bone Man’s hometown of Brighton, where he sold out the 4,500-cap Brighton Centre in November. “It all started to come together at the beginning of summer 2016 when people were getting to know ‘Human’,” Scarampi remembers. “When Shepherd’s Bush went on sale at the end of 2016, the tickets just flew, and the three Brixtons sold out in a morning, as did Brighton Centre.” The Brixton shows were the last to be promoted by Kilimanjaro, with Live Nation set to take over from Alexandra Palace onwards.
The London story mirrors that of Germany, where the first show Live Nation GSA promoter Ioannis Panagopoulos got involved with was at Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg in 2015. “We’ve gone from playing 200-cap. club shows to 1,500-cap. venues, and now we are between 3,500- and 5,000-capacity all in one year,” he says. There was a standalone show at Hamburg Stadtpark in the summer, followed by dates at the Columbiahalle in Berlin and Samsung Hall in Zürich. Further dates in Germany and Austria will take place next year.
Mojo’s Kim Bloem joined the team after being blown away by Rag’n’Bone Man at Eurosonic in 2016. She got him on five festival bills in the Dutch market that summer, including Lowlands and North Sea Jazz Festival. A sold-out, 700-cap. club show in Amsterdam in November last year was swiftly followed by a sold-out date at the Melkweg (1,500) in April. Capacity doubled again for a sold-out October show at 013 in Tilburg, and Bloem is confident about shifting 6,000 tickets before the end of the year for a show at AFAS Live in April 2018.
So what are the factors behind Rag’n’Bone Man’s live success story?
Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 75:
First shows announced for 80-date Dio Returns tour
Eyellusion, the creator of the much talked-about hologram of the late Ronnie James Dio, has announced the initial run of dates for its first tour, Dio Returns: The World Tour.
The tour, which Eyellusion tells IQ will be produced in partnership with several local promoters, will make more than 80 stops in theatre-sized venues around the globe, kicking off in Finland on 30 November 2017.
The hologram, backed by Dio’s former band, will perform for the majority of the show, with a setlist that includes hits from across his career, including songs by Dio, Rainbow and Black Sabbath.
The initial European dates are:
- 30 November – The Circus, Helsinki
- 3 December – Fryshuset, Stockholm
- 4 December – Rockefeller Music Hall, Oslo
- 6 December – Progresja, Warsaw
- 13 December – Bikini, Barcelona
- 15 December – Escenario Santander, Santander, Spain
- 17 December – Arelene Romane, Bucharest
- 20 December – Trix, Antwerp
- 21 December – 013, Tilburg, Netherlands
Dio Returns is expected to visit to the United States in spring 2018, and play festivals across the world next summer.
“We like to think of Ronnie smiling down as we continue to find new ways to share his music with all generations of fans”
“Working with Eyellusion over the past year and a half to turn our dream of this tour into a reality has been absolutely incredible,” comments Dio’s widow and former manager, Wendy Dio. “No one has ever been able to put together a show and tour like this, and we like to think of Ronnie smiling down as we continue to find new ways to share his music with all generations of fans.
“We cannot wait to be able to finally bring this incredible experience to Ronnie’s fans around the world.”
Eyellusion CEO and founder Jeff Puzzti adds: “We’ve really only given Dio fans a small taste of what they’re going to see on this tour. We are creating a completely new hologram of Ronnie, designing an amazing light show and continuing to add more dates around the world to make sure that as many fans as possible get an opportunity to take part in this experience.”
Eyellusion – which in addition to Wendy Dio is backed by veteran artist manager Todd Singerman and drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Cougar Mellencamp, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Meat Loaf, Smashing Pumpkins) – is currently raising funding to secure the rights for holograms of other artists “and finance projects and tours in its growing pipeline”.
75%+ of richest artists’ income is from touring
On average, the ten highest-paid artists made more than three quarters of their income last year from touring, reveals a new list of music’s biggest money-makers.
The list, compiled by Billboard, combines revenue from sales, streaming, publishing and touring. Of the top ten – Beyoncé, Guns N’ Roses, Bruce Springsteen, Drake, Adele, Coldplay, Justin Bieber, Luke Bryan, Kanye West and Kenny Chesney, in that order – only one placed artist, Drake, earnt more from recorded music than from live.
Beyoncé (pictured) brought in US$4.3 million from sales, $1.9m from streaming and $1.3m from publishing, but $54.7m from touring (her Formation world tour was the highest grossing of the year); for second-placed Guns N’ Roses, meanwhile, the figures are $771,700, $670,800, $499,600 and $40.4m, respectively.
Drake, the sole exception to the rule, earnt $18.1m from streaming compared to $13.6m from touring. Kanye West’s streaming performance was also strong ($7.6m), although it was still under half the $15.4m he took home from live shows.
Added together, income from sales, streaming and publishing for the top ten totalled around $71.1m – or just 24.4% of the $291.7m they made from touring.
Music streaming is, of course, on the rise, climbing 9.9% in the first six months of 2017 alone. But –Drake aside – Billboard’s charts illustrate how even the world’s biggest artists are struggling to make significant money from streaming – and prove once again that it’s a good time to be in the concert business…
U2’s Joshua Tree 2017 tour tops 2.4m ticket sales
U2’s The Joshua Tree 2017 world tour – announced in January to commemorate 30 years of the album of the same name – has become the year’s most successful concert tour, selling more than 2.4 million tickets for dates in North America, Latin America and the UK and Europe, according to promoter Live Nation Global Touring.
The initial North American leg of the tour came to close on Saturday (1 July) at the FirstEnergy Stadium (67,431-cap.) in Cleveland, Ohio, after having played to more than one million people over the course of almost two months.
The European leg, with support from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, kicks off this weekend with two dates (8–9 July) at Twickenham Stadium (110,000-cap.) and concludes on 1 August at Brussels’ King Baudouin Stadium (50,094-cap.).
The initial North American leg came to close on Saturday, after having played to more than one million people over two months
The tour then heads back to North America with support from Beck, before departing for South America on 7 October, again backed by Gallagher.
In addition to being commercially successful, the tour has drawn a largely positive critical reception. “I have left every U2 concert feeling like some measure of my humanity had been restored after being worn down by the blistering winds of the daily shitstorm we call living,” reads a typical review of the Lincoln Financial Field show by Phawker. “Last night was no exception.”
U2’s last world tour, 2015’s Innocence + Experience, was the fourth highest-grossing of the year.
Spotify, Live Nation partner on RapCaviar concerts
Live Nation has extended its relationship with Spotify with the launch of RapCaviar Live, a new six-city concert series inspired by the streaming service’s eponymous hip-hop playlist.
RapCaviar Live kicks off at the Tabernacle (2,600-cap.) in Atlanta, Georgia, on 12 August with a show by Gucci Mane (pictured), Mike Will Made It and other “special guests”. Additional details of shows in Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, New York and Houston, Texas, will be announced by Spotify soon.
“[I’m] proud to partner with Gucci Mane on this incarnation of the RapCaviar vibe,” comments Tuma Basa, head of hip hop at Spotify, who has been called “the most important tastemaker in hip-hop music today” for his role as curator of the RapCaviar playlist.
“This is an important milestone for Spotify, for RapCaviar and for hip hop in the streaming age”
“Gucci was an early believer in what we are doing and it’s going to be beautiful to see it manifest live. Taking RapCaviar on the road was just a dream for us a few years ago. This is an important milestone for Spotify, for RapCaviar and for hip hop in the streaming age.”
With its Spotify branding, RapCaviar Live brings to mind Drake’s Views from the 6 North American tour, which was also promoted by Live Nation but billed as being presented by Apple Music – Spotify’s main rival in the music streaming space.
Live Nation in November struck a deal with Spotify to integrate Ticketmaster ticket listings into Spotify artist pages, emails and concert-recommendation emails.
It’s happening: Musical.ly lip-synchers going on tour
Has the rise of arena-filling competitive esports left you baffled? Are you, like your elderly correspondent, mystified by the popularity – and earning potential – of the YouTubers and internet currently celebrities cutting their teeth on the live circuit?
Then you could be forgiven for not having heard of Lisa and Lena Mantler, two 15-year-old German twins who just became the first ‘musers’ to amass 20 million fans on Musical.ly.
For the uninitiated, Musical.ly is a video-sharing social app that now boasts more than 40m monthly active users. Popular among tweens, the majority of its content consists of musers lip-synching to pre-recorded backing tracks – although since the decline of Vine, many have also branched out into producing more general short-form video, such as Vine-style comedy skits.
The Shanghai-based company behind the app, Musical.ly, Inc., has signed licensing deals with all major labels and publishers – which in return receive a bump in sales/streaming when the most popular musers post a new clip. “When stars ask users to post, it can be potent,” writes Forbes. “Last year a promotion of Selena Gomez’s ‘Kill ’em with Kindness’ rendered 1.3m Musical.ly clips and 34.6m likes, reportedly boosting the song’s performance, according to her label Interscope Geffen A&M.”
A sample of Lisa and Lena’s video output can be seen below:
The twins (pictured) “shared their first video, a six-second black-and-white rendition of ‘Treble Heart’ by Anna Graceman,” in August 2015, reads a press release from Musical.ly, “and since [then have] posted clips that have become more sophisticated with lighting, choreographed moves and matching outfits.”
To coincide with reaching the 20m milestone, Lisa and Lena have announced plans for a European tour, kicking off with three shows in the UK jointly produced by Global and WME.
Dates announced so far are below:
What a time to be alive.