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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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Elton tour on target to be biggest Oz/NZ run ever

Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road run is shaping up to become the biggest tour in Australia and New Zealand history after promoters announced a fresh slate of shows.

Staged by Chugg Entertainment, Frontier Touring and AEG Presents, dates have been added at the 30,000-cap McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle (8 January), the 30,000-cap AAMI Park, Melbourne (14 January) and the 45,000-cap Allianz Stadium in Sydney (17 January).

The Australasia leg of the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour was the biggest tour globally in the first half of 2020, according to Pollstar. Sir Elton grossed US$87.1m from 38 shows during the mid-year reporting period, with a total of 664,749 tickets sold, before touring ground to a pandemic-induced halt in March 2020.

The all-time list is currently headed by Ed Sheeran’s 2018 Divide tour, which racked up 950,000 ticket sales, and Dire Straits’ 1986 Brothers In Arms tour, which moved 900,000. However, Farewell Yellow Brick Road will go to the top of the list with 980,500 tickets sold if the remaining concerts sell out.

“If we sell every ticket, we will be just shy of a million”

“If we sell every ticket, we will be just shy of a million over all the Farewell YBR shows,” promoter Michael Chugg tells The Music Network.

Comprising well over 300 shows, the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour kicked off in the US in September 2018 and it currently scheduled to wrap up in Europe in summer 2023.

Prior to the new shows being announced, the overall sales tally for Australia/New Zealand leg was set to settle on 875,000, putting it in third place in the region historically. Tickets for the latest set of dates went on sale on Monday (1 August).

 


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