2019 In Review: The Year In Global

Lollapalooza Chile

global village: Parque O’Higgins, site of Lollapalooza Chile and Movistar Arena.

Ed Sheeran’s record-setting “Divide Tour” (2017-19) produced all kinds of unbelievable statistics, one of which was the sheer number of shows: 255 concerts at 168 venues was more than double U2’s 110 performances at 76 venues during its “360 Tour” (2009-11), which previously held the record for highest-grossing tour. 

There are many markets missed by U2 but visited by Sheeran almost a decade later, particularly in South America. How much of this was attributable to those markets having matured since 2009, and how much of it was simply down to a more ambitious routing? 
“It has always been Ed’s ambition to play as many places as possible and to visit places others wouldn’t necessarily consider,” Sheeran manager Stuart Camp told Pollstar. “The margins in those territories are not as good for us so that is a testament to wanting to play to people.”
One company that has been investing in South America for the past decade is C3 Presents, which celebrates the 10th anniversary of Lollapalooza Chile March 27-29 next year. 
Joe Howard works on C3’s South American editions of Lollapalooza in Chile, Argentina and Brazil. “South America is a big continent with a lot of cities, but a lot of them still lack the string of venues to make a tour viable for any mid-sized international band,” Howard said. “There’s only four, five, six markets they traditionally hit, unless they go a little bit deeper into these markets, which is fairly rare for the international bands.”
David Zedeck, global head of UTA’s music division, said the power of streaming coupled with the global growth of festivals has led to artists’ tour plans now including a number of non-traditional touring markets. “No longer viewed as opportunistic, these markets and shows become anchor dates in regional tours,” Zedeck explained. “Significant touring artists will lock certain festivals and events into their plans a year or two removed from the show date and build the tour around these prestigious anchor dates.”
The lack of infrastructure is the main reason markets like Africa, the Middle East or India are still out of reach for most mid-sized artists. Ashish Hemrajani, founder of India’s entertainment giant Big Tree Entertainment, confirmed as much when he told Pollstar earlier this year that he was looking into getting involved in venue management and fitting buildings with state-of-the-art technology. In the Middle East, Coca-Cola Arena just opened in Dubai, and Abu Dhabi is to get its own arena in Q2 next year. Movistar recently became the naming rights sponsor of its third South American arena, now investing in buildings in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; and Bogota, Colombia. 
In Africa, Universal Music parent company Vivendi is operating 13 venues in total under the CanalOlympia brand. CanalOlympia venues are arranged around a modular movie theater with 300 seats that can be transformed into an open-air stage with a capacity of several thousand. Some 30 concerts have taken place at CanalOlympia premises in 2019, mostly by domestic artists, for example Seddiki Diabaté in Lomé, Togo, Sept. 19, attracting 20,000 people. Some 6,000 attended the Damso concert in Douala, Cameroon, June 29, while Tekno in Douala attracted 4,000 people April 14.
“As you can see, CanalOlympia promotes the emergence of a whole new generation of local artists, some of them already well-known outside of Africa,” Christine Pigeyre, Chief Executive Officer of CanalOlympia, said. 
“Olympia Production, which is also part of Vivendi Village, produces some of the concerts for its artists. Other artists are from Universal Music Group, part of Vivendi. But this is not exclusive, and other promoters have also enjoyed producing their artists on CanalOlympia premises.” s