The worldwide concert business had a tremendous year with most sectors showing double-digit growth despite the lingering economic malaise.
Smart bookings, intelligent ticket pricing and the increasing use of social media to promote directly to fans has clearly demonstrated that the concert industry is a growth business.
Recorded music sales may continue to erode but the live music business has never been stronger.
While the North American tour business has stabilized, the routine addition of new international touring territories for many artists proved to be a huge boost to their bottom lines.
Bon Jovi did both the biggest tour of 2013, and of its career, with a gross of $259.5 million while playing to 2,657,502 fans.
It should be noted that all three U.S.-based acts generated more than 60% of their touring revenue outside North America.
There were 13 tours that grossed more than $100 million worldwide as compared to only six in 2012.
Only two artists were able to hit that mark with just their North American tours.
The Top 50 Worldwide Tours generated a combined gross of $3.83 billion.
That represents an amazing increase of 27.6% over the $3 billion sold in 2012.
The best news is that this huge increase came from selling more tickets and not just higher pricing.
The average ticket price stayed relatively flat, increasing just 18 cents to $86.11.
Total tickets sold by the Top 50 increased 27.5% to 44.5 million.
That equates to about 9.6 million more fans coming through the turnstiles in 2013.
Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson: The Immortal only toured outside North America but still grossed $133.4 million. The Cirque brand continued to demonstrate enormous global appeal with no less than 10 different shows landing among the Top 50.
The biggest single gross of the year was produced by Pink’s incredible 18-show run at
The $29,451,002 gross and 235,187 tickets sold in just that one market dwarfs the year-long efforts of the vast majority of touring artists.
Pollstar estimates the total size of the North American concert business hit a new record high of $5.1 billion.
That’s a particularly surprising number in light of the fact that in 2000 the total was only $1.7 billion.
The Top 100 Tours of North America hit a new record high at $2.79 billion.
That represents a 10.3% increase over 2012.
Total tickets sold by the Top 100 was up 9.2% at 40.07 million.
That is 3.37 million more tickets than in 2012. Average ticket prices remained stable increasing a modest 1.1% to $69.52.
Taylor Swift did the top tour of North America grossing $112.7 million, just edging out Bon Jovi’s $107.3 million.
That makes Swift’s tour the most lucrative ever produced by a country music artist, beating her own record of $97.7 million in 2011.
Swift also headlined 21 of the Top 200 grosses reported in North America.
Kenny Chesney added 17 of his shows to the list making it a very good year for the house of Messina that produced both tours. After years of worrying about who will replace all the aging baby boomer bands, the answers are starting to appear in the charts as new acts make their mark.
Global Ticket Sales
The volume of Box Office grosses reported directly to Pollstar was up substantially across all venue types. Data on more than 41,000 shows were added to the Pollstar database, representing hard numbers for more than 120 million tickets sold and gross sales of more than $7.3 billion.
The impact of global touring is readily evident when looking at the Top 200 Arenas chart.
The Top 100 Amphitheatres chart provided a much better view of that market segment in 2013 as many more shows got reported than in the previous year. Live Nation was once again by far the biggest promoter in the world with more than 33.2 million tickets sold.
Although the company has not officially changed its information sharing stance, it did report an increased volume of more than 8 million tickets or 32% in sales over 2012. AEG Live, which went through a tumultuous year, finished in second position with nearly 13.7 million tickets reported sold.
That is up more than 33% or 3.4 million tickets over 2012. C3 Presents, OCESA, The Bowery Presents, Another Planet, Jam Productions and MSG Entertainment all reported more tickets sold. On the international side, Marek Lieberberg, SJM, MCD Productions, Evenpro and FKP Scorpio all posted bigger sales numbers.
Ahead To 2014
There were some seismic personnel shifts last year starting with the surprise New Years ouster of Irving Azoff at Live Nation which left Michael Rapino firmly in control. Wall Street approved of the change and Live Nation’s stock more than doubled in price during the course of the year.
Meanwhile, Azoff wasted no time in find-ing a new partner in Jim Dolan and
The hidden turmoil at the house of Anschutz abruptly surfaced with the seemingly unthinkable firing of Tim Leiweke as AEG was pulled off the market.
Randy Phillips was also shown the door at AEG. But the company is well-stocked with more than capable execs in Jay Marciano, John Meglen, Paul Tollett and Dan Beckerman.
For his part, Leiweke wasted no time in landing the top job at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment in Toronto.
Peter Luukko’s abrupt resignation from the top spot at Global Spectrum also caught many by surprise.
Luukko indicated he simply wanted to cash out his holdings and thus far he has not announced his next adventure.
The booking agency business remained remarkably stable with the biggest change coming at the end of the year with WME’s move into the sports world with the acquisition of IMG.
WME is now back in solid competition with CAA which already was a player in sports representation. About the only thing that can be safely predicted for 2014 is that there will be more unforeseen changes driven by technology innovations and major personnel shifts that no one saw coming.