Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sting can’t save concert biz

Now not only the record business but the touring industry is slumping as well:

“The top 20 tours generated $996 million, down 15.6 percent from the year before, according to preliminary data issued on Friday by Pollstar, which covers the concert business. The previous low was $951.1 million in 2004, when Prince and Madonna topped the box office, it said.” (Link)

Lefsetz comments: “If Van Halen, the Police and Genesis can’t bring in the bucks, who will? Oh, I know... Led Zeppelin.”

But hold on. Editors rush to put the Chicken Little spin on stories about the old/big/offline music industry, but the reality is more complicated, and probably not as dire. Pollstar’s data is based on the top 20 tours, which have been declining for years because of a lack of stadium- and arena-worthy young acts — the list is mostly your Billy Joels, Springsteens, Sir Eltons, etc. — but the “long tail” of the business is flourishing in clubs and theaters. Over the last year or two Live Nation has sold off “sheds” (outdoor amphitheaters), bought House of Blues and built midsize rooms, and AEG, its biggest competitor, has acquired smaller venues (like the Starland Ballroom in New Jersey) and taken a new interest in regional promoting.

Bottom line: less money made by Eddie Van Halen and the William Morris Agency, more by the dude who booked those seven Bright Eyes shows you went to. And by Bright Eyes, too.

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