Q3 Reset: Merging Live And Virtual In A Pandemic Reality
Don Arnold / WireImag – Queen + Adam Lambert
play ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia, Feb. 15.
A traditional third-quarter recap gives us a solid glimpse at how the year is shaping up regarding the most profitable tours and live events as well as the most successful venues based on how many people spend their entertainment dollars. Boxoffice numbers at this point of the year usually give us insight into the various facets of live entertainment that are innovative, breaking new ground and trending up and which artists are rising to the next level in their careers.
But, it’s 2020, the year of COVID-19 with the industry shutdown, cancellations, postponements, masks, drive-ins and socially distanced shows. And, even though this recap includes our traditional chart package presenting the top tours, venues and promoters based on worldwide ticket sales, we are also adding two new charts in response to the global pandemic: Top 50 Livestreamers and Top 100 Livestreams. The new charts are based on data reported for Pollstar’s weekly Livestream chart that debuted in our May 18 issue ranking virtual live events with the highest number of views.
The Top 50 Livestreamers lists the top artists or events that have streamed at least twice during the Q3 period of eligibility, ranking them by the overall number of views within the first two days after the performance. The Top 100 Livestreams ranks the top individual streams based on the viewership count for that one single event.
All of the Q3 charts are created using a period of eligibility beginning Nov. 21, 2019, through Aug. 19, 2020. With much of the concert industry in limbo since the second week of March because of the coronavirus pandemic, our traditional charts are based on data from events that occurred prior to the shutdown. The new streaming charts officially have the same eligibility period, but since the weekly Livestream chart was not introduced until May, the two Q3 streaming charts are based on events occurring May 5 through Aug. 19.
The Top 100 Tours for Q3 do not vary significantly compared to the 2020 Mid-Year report, but one addition is Queen + Adam Lambert landing at No. 4. The band played 10 concerts, selling 376,477 tickets across nine stadiums in Australia and New Zealand in February. Those counts were not reported until August, however, and were unavailable for Mid-Year. Grossing $44.6 million, the rockers follow Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Elton John and Celine Dion who remained at Nos. 1, 2 and 3, respectively, as they were after the second quarter – all based on shows from early in the 2020 chart year.
Also reported during the summer were the final counts from the last venue on Madonna’s “Madame X” tour, which gives her a jump on the Top 100 Tours from No. 68 at Mid-Year to No. 53 for Q3. Her eight-show run at Grand Rex in Paris drew 20,919 fans with tickets ranging from about $85-$390 for a gross of $5.1 million. With “Madame X” staged in smaller rooms compared to the arenas and stadiums of her previous treks, she averaged 2,390 sold seats per show for the tour, which grossed more than $51 million worldwide during its six-month span.
Among arenas, the top three for the third quarter are the same as the Mid-Year report with Madrid’s WiZink Center topping both; however, Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany jumped from No. 3 to No. 2 for Q3 based on socially distanced indoor events reported. The headcount from 17 shows in the summer added 16,772 tickets to the arena’s attendance total, moving them past New York’s Madison Square Garden to claim the second spot.
Like the top tours tally, the Top 50 Stadiums chart was also impacted by the Queen + Adam Lambert tour since the venues on their February run fall in that category, but No. 1 for both quarterly recaps was the same. Mexico City’s Foro Sol is ranked higher than any other outdoor stadium or festival site based on a whopping ticket count of 677,591 from two festivals early in 2020: Electric Daisy Carnival and Vive Latino, along with headlining dates by Café Tacvba, Maroon 5, Billy Joel and Soda Stereo before the March shutdown.
New to the Top 100 Promoters chart is Eventim Live at No. 5, a Europe-based promoter network that includes multiple tour operators in multiple countries. The totals presented on the chart are combined from reported events by individual companies such as Act Entertainment, Big Tours, D’Alessandro & Galli, Dirk Becker Entertainment and Peter Rieger Konzertagentur among others. Both Semmel Concerts Entertainment and FKP Scorpio Konzertproduktionen are also part of the Eventim Live network but appear on the chart individually, designated with an (EL). This is similar to Live Nation and AEG Presents that both appear on the chart along with individual promoters that are under their corporate umbrellas, indicated by (LN) and (AEG), respectively.
Heading the list of Top 50 Livestreamers is Circle’s Opry Live that occurs each Saturday night. It’s the weekly stream of the Grand Ole Opry that has aired for almost a century as the longest-running radio broadcast in U.S. history. And, even in spite of the pandemic, it has continued on radio, television and streaming platforms since Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House shut its doors to visitors in March. Among the artists who have performed each week, Country Music Hall of Fame members Vince Gill and Reba McEntire drew the largest audience with over 2.6 million views of their streamed concert on July 18.
Within the 10 highest-ranked Livestreamers, only half are solo headliners. Norah Jones, ranked No. 2, has drawn the most views with 6.9 million fans tuning in for her weekly stream on Facebook. EDM duo Sofi Tukker, with a streamed show almost daily, is third with 2.6 million views of 111 shows. Following at No. 5 is North Carolina native Josh Daniel who also performs daily with his “Quarantine Sessions.” His 117 shows logged more than 1.9 million views. No. 9 is Austin-based singer/songwriter Jackie Venson who had 22 shows on the charts with over 1.5 million views, while country artist Luke Combs, ranked 10th, had 1.5 million views of two streamed concerts during the summer.
Rounding out the Top 10 Livestreamers are multiple-artist events with different lineups for each show. Three are events presented by Bandsintown, the New York-based concert discovery platform. Bandsintown Live Outskirts is No. 4 with nine shows and 2.5 million views; Bandsintown Live Discovery is at No. 6 with 1.9 million views of 11 events; and Bandsintown Live is No. 8 with 1.6 million views of three shows. Finally, seventh-ranked Ram Jam Sessions streamed eight events for Q3 with 1.7 million views.
Looking at the top-ranked individual events on the Top 100 Livestreams, No. 1 is virtual metal festival Wacken World Wide with 11 million views of the multiple-day event that aired July 29-Aug. 1, when the canceled Wacken Open Air festival would have run. The streamed event included live performances by Sabaton, Heaven Shall Burn and Kreator among many others as well as vintage footage of live sets from past editions of the annual German festival.
French DJ David Guetta hits the Top 100 at No. 2 with his May 30 fundraiser dubbed “United At Home,” benefiting The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, Feeding America, the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and Fondation Hôpitaux de Paris-Hôpitaux de France. The show had more than 7.7 million views on multiple platforms.
No. 3 is Dropkick Murphys’ “Streaming Outta Fenway” event on May 29 that racked up 5.9 million views on social platforms, marking the band’s second streamed event during the pandemic. An earlier performance from Boston aired on St. Patrick’s Day.
The Fenway event in an empty ballpark also featured a guest appearance by Bruce Springsteen.
Among the 10 highest-viewed Livestreams are two of the Verzuz battles, an event created by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz to showcase music from two iconic R&B or hip-hop artists. At No. 4 is DMX vs. Snoop Dogg, viewed by more than 3.3 million fans July 22, while 2 Chainz vs. Rick Ross scored the No. 9 ranking with almost 1.9 million views on Aug. 6.
Circle’s Opry Live event starring Gill and McEntire, mentioned earlier, is No. 5 among the Top 100 Livestreams and is one of three Opry Live concerts in the Top 10. Luke Bryan and Darius Rucker are No. 7 based on 1.9 million views of their joint appearance Aug. 15, and a June 27 performance at the Opry with Keb’Mo’ and Brad Paisley is No. 8, also with 1.9 million views.
The Weeknd is No. 6 with The Weeknd Experience, a virtual Tik Tok concert streamed Aug. 7 with the artist presented as a digital avatar performing tracks from his latest album After Hours.
The performance logged 2 million views. And No. 10 is a benefit performance on May 5 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “Take 5 Together #forStJude” was a fundraiser in response to COVID-19 benefiting charities and communities worldwide. Country singer Scotty McCreery was among the entertainers participating, along with celebrities Drew Barrymore, Michael Strahan and others.