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The decade in live: 2010

The start of a new year and, perhaps more significantly, a new decade is fast approaching – and while many may be thinking ahead to New Year’s Eve plans and well-meaning 2020 resolutions, IQ is casting its mind back to the most pivotal industry moments of the last ten years.

Over the coming weeks, IQ will be bringing you a complete, chronological review of each year in the live business, from the beginning of the decade right up to the present day.

Kicking things off, we take a look at 2010 – the year that marked both the end of the first decade of the 21st century and the start of a new chapter.

At the start of this decade, the world was slowly recovering from the global financial crisis, with a continued shortage of disposable income for fans leading to the underperformance or cancellation of a number of concerts, tours and festivals, particularly in the United States.

The appearance of an unbudging volcanic ash cloud above Iceland also briefly took its toll on the live business, causing the closure of international airspace and the disruption of several high-profile tours.

The year also saw some several major mergers and acquisition, including arguably the deal of the decade, as Live Nation and Ticketmaster completed their merger.


2010 in numbers

According to Pollstar figures, the top 50 global tours of 2010 grossed a combined US$2.9 billion, down 12% from the year before.

The top five highest grossing tours of the year were Bon Jovi’s Circle ($201.1 million), AC/DC’s Black Ice World Tour ($177m), U2’s 360° ($160.9m), Lady Gaga’s The Monster Ball Tour ($133.6m) and Metallica’s World Magnetic Tour ($110.1m).

Over the year, a total of 38.3m tickets were sold to 2,650 shows, 7m fewer than in 2009, which also saw 8%, or around 200, more concerts.  The average ticket price did rise in 2010, however, by 4% ($2.90) from the previous year.


Who we lost

In 2010, the music industry lost some legends, including Mark Linkhous of Sparklehorse, 47; former Sex Pistols manager and musician Malcolm McLaren, 64; heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio, 67; veteran agent Barbara Skydel of William Morris Entertainment, 70; Dave Kirby, founder of booking agency the Kirby Organization, 56.


2010 in brief

The US Justice Department clears the merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment, forming the world’s largest live entertainment company. At the time, the behemoth owned 140 venues worldwide, promoted 22,000 concerts and sold 140 million tickets a year and managed the careers of over 200 artists.

Beyonce Knowles wins six Grammys at the annual US music awards shows, more than any other woman in a single night in the 52-year history of the awards.

All Good Entertainment files a $300m suit against Michael Jackson’s estate, AEG Live and others, claiming it had a contract with him and his family for a reunion concert.

Live Nation, FKP Scorpio and Exit festival all announce that they are testing cashless payment systems at festivals in the summer.

Michael Jackson’s estate signs a record-breaking $200m deal with Sony Music Entertainment for ten projects over seven years.

Live biz in review: IQ's decade highlights

Beyonce won six awards at the 2010 Grammys © idrewuk/Wikimedia Commons (CC By 2.0) (cropped)

Live Nation announces the launch of an Australian office in Melbourne, just weeks after it sets up in Germany.

Ash from an Icelandic volcano closes airspace in Europe destroying many tour plans and promotional campaigns.

CTS Eventim purchases the remaining 49.8% of shares it didn’t already own in Italian ticket company TicketOne for €20.6m ($25.5m).

Manchester Evening News Arena is bought by Development Securities for £62m ($90m) and venue manager SMG Europe announces a 25-year deal with the new owner.

Stevie Wonder wraps up Glastonbury Festival with a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ as the 177,000-capacity event celebrates its 40th anniversary with blazing sunshine and a sell-out crowd.

Partners at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) acknowledge that the agency is in discussions with a private equity firm to buy a share of the company worth up to $250m.

Live biz in review: IQ's decade highlights

A scorching Glastonbury 2010 © MojoBaron/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0) (resized)

Ticket giant CTS Eventim buys See Tickets Germany and Ticket Online Group for €145m ($180) and secures exclusive ticketing rights to all Stage Entertainment Germany shows.

Twenty one die and over 500 are injured at the Love Parade festival in Duisberg, Germany, when panic breaks out in an entrance/exit tunnel to the event.

Veteran agent Brett Murrihy of Premier Harbour Agency launches a new company, Artist Voice, with Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Group.

Deutsche Entertainment AG forms Gold Entertainment after purchasing two thirds of promoter Manfred Hertlein Veranstaltungs, to focus on the “grey gold” market.

Germany’s Federal Cartel Office launches a retrospective probe into CTS Eventim’s €145m purchase of See Tickets Germany and Ticket Online Group.

A survey of 414 ticketing sites by regulators across Europe finds that 247 are breaking consumer laws and will be investigated further by authorities.

Live Biz in review: IQ's decade highlights

Bon Jovi’s Circle tour was the highest grossing of 2010 © Miyagawa/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)

CAA announces a strategic partnership with investment firm TPG Capital, which takes a 35% non-controlling stake in the agency.

Take That sell 1.35m tickets for its 2011 stadium tour featuring Robbie Williams, with demand crashing ticket websites and phone lines.

Live Nation buys France’s second largest ticketing company, Ticketnet, for an undisclosed sum.

David Campbell, chief executive of the O2 in London, departs the world’s top arena to work for Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Management.

Live Nation sells the 1,800-capacity Stockholm Circus to a syndicate that includes executives Thomas Johansson and Carl Pernow.

Live biz in review: IQ's decade highlightsTake That perform as part of their 2011 Progress Live tour © vagueonthehow/Flickr (CC by 2.0)


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Amazon, Rammstein, New Bosses and the Sphere: 2018’s top stories

IQ is today shutting up shop until 2 January 2019.

While we’ll be sure to keep you abreast of any major industry goings-on over the festive period, there won’t be an IQ Index newsletter until we return, so don’t panic if your inbox looks decidedly devoid of concert business news for the remainder of 2018.

From everyone at IQ, we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Now, read on for the IQ stories that reached the most people in the global concert industry this year…



Edmania: Sheeran breaks records across Europe with new onsales


Rob Hallett’s Robomagic joins Live Nation


AEG ends ties with StubHub, launches AXS Marketplace


800,000-selling Rammstein sets new Eventim record


Hardee warns of biz burnout as report reveals huge stress levels


Kerslake report: SMG, Showsec praised for “above and beyond” Manchester response


Introducing… the New Bosses 2018


‘Everyone will have the best seat in the house’: MSG takes wraps off Sphere London


Get Me Out!: Ticketmaster shuts down European resale sites


Amazon Tickets shuts shop

See you in 2019!


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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.


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2017: The year in review

Missed our regular news updates this year (or recently emerged, Brendan Frasier in Blast from the Past-style, from a nuclear fallout shelter)? Team IQ are logging off for Christmas – so here, in no particular order, are some of the key stories that shaped the year in live music…

In a story that’s set to continue into the new year and beyond, the final few months of 2017 have seen #MeToo – the campaign to stamp out sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood, spurred by the allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein – cross over into the music business, with a growing number of female musicians and execs reporting similar behaviour in our industry.

IQ asked in October if live music has a “Harvey Weinstein problem”, and a number of prominent international female industry figures told us they, too, have been subject to, or witnessed, inappropriate behaviour or sexual assault while working in the live business.

Since then, organised movements campaigning against sexual misconduct in music have sprung up in Sweden (#närmusikentystnar, ‘when the music stops’), Australia (#meNOmore) and the UK (Stop 2018), while the Association for Electronic Music (AFEM) has launched a dedicated, confidential helpline for victims of sexual harassment in the electronic music business.

In the agency world, meanwhile, reps from all major multinational agencies told IQ last month they are intensifying their efforts to ensure the safety of their employees and clients – and CAA has confirmed to IQ it has cancelled its annual Friday pre-Golden Globes party in order to establish a legal defence fund for sexual harassment cases.

Annus terror-bilis
The Manchester Arena attack, the shootings at Route 91 Harvest and BPM Festival, the Reina nightclub bombing and other attacks on innocent fans of live entertainment this year will forever live in infamy – and remain a stark reminder that, despite increased security and the willingness of fans to keep coming to shows, they remain attractive targets for terrorism.

What should also be remembered, however, is the way the industry responded to the evil of these attacks: From the One Love Manchester and We are Manchester charity concerts to the candlelit vigils and fundraising for victims of the Route 91 Harvest attack, those working in live music, just as after the Bataclan attack, stepped up to plate to lend a hand to the victims and all those affected.

Those working in live music stepped up to plate to help to victims of terror

Festival FUBARs…
Who could forget Fyre Festival? Cancelled flights, limp cheese sandwiches and disaster relief tents? A festival that went so badly wrong it’s become a byword for badly organised events – the Giant Cheeseboard, for example, was only this week called “London’s answer to Fyre Festival” – and its promoter arrested by the FBI?

Yes, Fyre Festival this year became the gold standard for festival disasters, but it wasn’t alone. The inaugural Hope & Glory festival – described in the NME as “Fyre Festival with none of the lols” – was called off on its second day amid reports of bottlenecking, queues for facilities and sets being cancelled or running over, while Y Not Festival was cancelled after the site turned into a mudbath as a result of heavy rain.

Canada’s Pemberton Music Festival 2017, meanwhile, was axed with less than two months to go, after its parent companies were placed into administration with debts of almost $10m.

… and tours de force
Despite these headline-grabbing disasters, however, the 2017 summer festival season was a largely successful one compared to last year, when severe weather, including lightning strikes, forced the cancellation of open-air events in Europe and North America.

The organisers of festivals as diverse as Trsnmt (UK), Haven (Denmark), Download (UK), Istanbul Jazz Festival (Turkey), Hurricane/Southside (Germany), Baloise Session and OpenAir St Gallen (both Switzerland), Lollapalooza Paris (France) and BST Hyde Park (UK) all reported healthy attendances in 2017 – and IQ’s recent European Festival Report 2017 revealed that despite increased competition, a majority of the continent’s festival operators feel optimistic about the future of their events.

A majority of Europe’s festival operators feel optimistic about the future of their events

By IQ’s reckoning, Live Nation/Ticketmaster made three more acquisitions than in 2016, when eight companies came under the Live Nation Entertainment umbrella, further bolstering its credentials as the world’s largest live entertainment company.

They were: Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion (venue) in December; United Concerts (promoter) in October; Strobe Labs (data platform) in August; Openair Frauenfeld (festival) in July; Isle of Wight Festival in March; Bluestone Entertainment (promoter) and Ticketpro (ticket agency) in February; and Metropolis Music (promoter) Cuffe & Taylor (promoter), Bottlerock Napa Valley (festival) and CT Touring (promoter) in January.

Rain-grey town, known for its sound…
An IQ/Songkick study revealed in September that the British capital is by far Europe’s live music capital by number of events – and the third-biggest concert market in the world, behind only New York and Los Angeles.

There were 19,940 total live music events in London in 2016 – more than San Francisco (13,672), Paris (11,248) and Chicago (11,224) – and the city is on course to hold its no1 spot in 2017.

Looking ahead to 2018, a raft of new festivals looks set to further cement London’s status as the live music capital of Europe, with AEG and Live Nation/Festival Republic both planning new events and local councils opening up more green space to meet the growing demand for live entertainment.

Live Nation/Ticketmaster made three more acquisitions than in 2016

Google to touts: Don’t be evil
Google last month dealt what could be a fatal blow to the likes of Viagogo and Seatwave, announcing that from January 2018 secondary ticketing sites would be subject to stringent restrictions on their use of Google AdWords.

Under the new measures – which come on the back of UK politicians accusing sites such as Viagogo, StubHub, Seatwave and Get Me In! of violating Google’s Adwords policies on misrepresentation, and increased scrutiny of ticket touting in Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain, Ireland and more – Google will force ticket resellers to list the face value of tickets, make clear they are resale sites and stop implying they are an ‘official’ seller or lose access to AdWords.

Google’s crackdown comes as national authorities, especially in the UK, continue to make life harder for touts, with National Trading Standards last week making four arrests as part of an investigation into the “practices of businesses that buy and sell tickets in bulk”.

The end of the road for ‘industrial-scale’ secondary ticketing, or merely another hurdle to be overcome? Time will tell…

Agency turntable
The booking agency world continued to consolidate in 2017 with a number of acquisitions, mergers and partnerships. Notable was Paradigm which 
entered into a strategic partnership with the UK’s X-Ray Touring in April and acquired Chicago- and California-based agency Monterey International in August.

Among other moves, July saw Helsinki-based Fullsteam Agency announce that it had acquired Rähinä Live, while September saw K2 Agency swoop for Factory Music. Meanwhile, the ongoing merry-go-round of agents swapping desks between companies continued – and if rumours are to be believed, 2018 will see this trend continue apace.

The booking agency world continued to consolidate in 2017 with a number of acquisitions, mergers and partnerships

In memoriam
In addition to the beloved performers we lost in 2017 (RIP Tom Petty, Chester Bennington, Chris Cornell, Chuck Berry, Greg Allman and many others), several equally revered live music business figures also passed away this year.

Peter Rieger, the founder of Cologne-based promoter Peter Rieger Konzertagentur (PRK), died on 29 January at the age of 63 – “far too young,” said friend and colleague John Giddings. “This has been a sad and dismal week,” added manager and former agent Ed Bicknell. “I’ve lost three dear pals: John Wetton of King Crimson, Asia and UK, Deke Leonard of Man, and now Peter. […] He was a total professional, a pleasure to deal with and funny – definitely funny. Which is what every promoter needs: a sense of humour.”

Another live industry veteran who passed far too young was tour manager, artist liaison and ILMC’s longtime producer, Alia Dann Swift, who died aged 57 in May. “She was the best,” said CAA’s Emma Banks. “A beautiful human being, a great friend, a smart and an inspiring woman.”

“Alia was renowned for her warmth, her tireless support of those around her, a perennial sense of humour and a no-nonsense approach,” added ILMC head Greg Parmley. “She was a widely loved and respected figure in the touring world who will be deeply and entirely missed.”

The live music world was once again rocked in August by the shock death of well-liked Primary Talent co-founder Dave Chumbley after a short illness.

“Dedicated to his artists to a fault, Dave was responsible for many hugely successful careers in the global music industry,” said manager Terry Blamey, with whom Chumbley worked for years representing Kylie Minogue. “He was a talented, wonderful man taken from us way to soon. Lynn and I loved him like a brother, dear friend, and we will miss him dreadfully.”

Other tragic losses to the business in 2017 included ShowSec founder Mick Upton, tour travel agent Mary Cleary, Israeli promoter Shmuel Zemach, Reading Festival founder Harold Pendleton, Washington, DC, promoter Jack Boyle and Live Nation Belgium booker Marianne Dekimpe.


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