Gérard Drouot Productions
Gérard Drouot Productions is having a good year. “The French are very much going to live shows again, and the artists want to work,” CEO Matthieu Drouot says. He adds that it’s impossible, in some cases, to book slots as far out as 2025. France has a magnificent circuit to offer any artist willing to put in the effort. As Drouot explains, “the French audience is very loyal, once they see the commitment they enter into a relationship with the artists. You can have a bad album or a bad song here and there, but if you still show the commitment, they will come to see you.”
Drouot says it’s amazing to watch GDP’s ticket count at the moment. While there are shows that don’t sell, most of the younger artists he works with are doing double — and in some cases even triple — the numbers he would see pre-pandemic. Ghost from Sweden, who headlined two nights at Inglewood, California’s Kia Forum a few weeks ago, played to 100,000 people in France across eight shows and a headline appearance at Hellfest this year. They stopped at well-known cities like Nice, Lille and Lyon, but also places you probably never hear of, like Le Grand-Quevilly, selling 4,647 tickets ($281,393 gross), or Saint-Herblain (4,434 tickets, $265,658 gross), according to Pollstar’s Boxoffice. “Pre-COVID they would do half, or a third of that,” says Drouot. Of course, he continues, “it’s our job to get the artists to a better level. We manage our data well, which helps us to reach out at announcement. This drives word of mouth and ticket sales.”
According to Drouot, there’s still “lots of room for growth.” One, because there’s many people out there, including those who entered their teenage years during lockdown, who don’t yet come to see shows, “because it’s not part of their lifestyle.” Two, because the “inflated ticket prices” promoters can charge for stadium shows are indicative of a higher demand than can be satisfied. “I’m wondering where this will end,” says Drouot, who just promoted a sold-out 21,000-cap show with Måneskin, Sept. 6 at the Zenith de Nancy in Maxéville, charging between $50 and $70 for a ticket, and grossing almost $1.2 million.
“We Have To Make Sure We Keep This Business Human”
“When I started 15 years ago,” he explains, “I would not charge a $60 average for a [relatively] new band. You would charge $30 to $35. It’s a very good sign that today a 16-year-old kid can spend more money on tickets than their parents’ generation. Imagine what kind of money an audience member of today can pay in 30 years, when he or she’s 50 years old.”
GDP also promoted both of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s concerts in Paris this year. “I’ve been working with Bruce since my early days, following up on the great work my father was doing. In the 1980s Bruce Springsteen was already a big act in France, but not at the level he is now. People only see career development in clubs, they forget that you can grow even someone who has been established for 30 years. When you go from 50,000 to 80,000 tickets, it’s growth,” he explains.
Drouot considers the biggest accomplishment of his career the tour of Les Insus, formerly known as Téléphone, whose members reunited in 2015 after going their separate ways for 30 years. “It’s the biggest tour I’ve ever done. One, because of ticket sales. We sold over a million tickets in France only. Two, because it was so highly anticipated. To be independent and do this tour was a huge accomplishment for us as a company, for me as a promoter, as well as for my father’s legacy. We used to work well together. I don’t know if I’ll ever do a tour again that’s that meaningful in France,” says Drouot.
Since his father’s passing in 2022, he’s been most proud of maintaining the relationships built over decades, and proving to artists and their reps that GDP is “doing the job with the level of energy and seriousness that these great shows require. To be able to tell my nearly 40 employees that we are doing shows together, and seeing the love for the artists from the audience – this is why we do this business. We don’t do it to make money. We need to make money because we need to keep the bank happy, but, really, if I wanted to make money, I would be in another business.
“And,” he concludes, “if we want to keep our business and our role as entrepreneurs, we have to do business with our minds and our hearts. We cannot do business based just on figures, and words and contracts. If my father was still alive, he would tell us stories about doing shows without contracts, and still making a good living for the artist, and making the audience happy. We have to make sure we keep this business human.”