Artist Group International
Dennis Arfa – who founded Artist Group International in 1986 and is the longtime agent for Billy Joel, Metallica, Def Leppard, Rod Stewart and Mötley Crüe – is getting used to working in a pandemic.
“I may remain remote the rest of my life,” he jokes. Joel has resumed his regular residency at Madison Square Garden, where he’s just announced his 84th sold-out show since 2014, which have grossed $180 million and attracted upwards of 1.2 million fans. He’s also playing one stadium date a month, the most recent a twice-postponed show at the 45,000-capacity Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte N.C.
Arfa’s agency also has Live Nation’s 36-date “The Stadium Tour” with AGI clients (and Allen Kovac-managed) Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard co-headlining alongside Poison, launching June 16 at Atlanta’s Truist Park after it was scheduled in 2020, with an advance gross of more than $150 million. Arfa says the shows are sold out, though tickets that were refunded during the pandemic – averaging just slightly more than 10% of the total inventory – will be put back on sale for individual dates.
“Everything will be more expensive in the future,” says Arfa about inflation impacting gas, security, accommodations, food and health mandates. “So ticket prices will inevitably go up, too, but the demand is high for big stadium shows. They are more viable than ever.”
Arfa’s also pumped about expanding his company’s European footprint by bringing U.K.-based X-ray Touring into parent company Yucaipa’s fold last year just before the death of Steve Strange, who co-founded the fabled company with partners Martin Horne, Ian Huffam and Scott Thomas.
“I enjoy playing on the highest level of the live business,” says Dennis about future stadium bookings for his artists. “Winning never gets old for me.”