2013 concert ticket sales set record, tracking service says

Los Angeles TimesJanuary 3, 2014 

Bon Jovi raked in more than a quarter-billion dollars on the road worldwide during 2013 to top a year in the concert business that’s being described as record-setting on many fronts.

The New Jersey rock band finished 2013 with a global box office take of $259.5 million, according to Pollstar, the concert industry-tracking publication.

Beyonce came in second with $188.6 million from her “Mrs. Carter” tour, followed by Pink with $170.6 million, Justin Bieber with $169 million and Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band in fifth with $145.4 million.

Rounding out Pollstar’s Top 10, based on figures released this week, Rihanna finished sixth, followed by Cirque du Soleil’s “Michael Jackson: The Immortal,” Taylor Swift, Depeche Mode and One Direction.

Total ticket revenue generated by the Top 20 tours came to $2.43 billion, an almost 24 percent increase over the $1.96 billion taken in during 2012 and a new record for the Top 20 touring acts, Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni noted.

But the most significant difference during 2013 might have been that the majority of the Top 10 highest-grossing tours are relatively young acts that by and large established their careers during the past decade.

“That’s a huge change,” said Michael Rapino, president and chief executive of Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter. “In the past you’d always get the question, ‘Who’s going to replace the Eagles?’ But that’s not statistically true anymore.”

Just last year, Pollstar’s ranking of the highest-grossing tours was overwhelmingly populated with long-running acts, such as Madonna, Springsteen, Metallica, Coldplay, Elton John and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Lady Gaga was the only performer in the year’s Top 10 who emerged in the new millennium.

This year, as Bongiovanni said in a statement, “Taylor Swift did the top grossing tour of North America. … One Direction and Bruno Mars are the two newcomers to the Top 20 and both are expected to do even bigger tours in 2014.”

Bongiovanni pointed out that 13 tours grossed more than $100 million in 2013, compared with only six in 2012.

The dip the concert business took in 2009 — which caused concern that the live music business was following the record industry into the financial doldrums — appears to have been a short-term setback.

The Internet and social media are partly responsible.

“It’s a global business now, and that wasn’t the case five to 10 years ago — thanks to the Internet, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter,” Rapino said. “When you realize that someone like Rihanna has 100 million followers and only 30 million of them are in (North) America, now a tour to South America becomes possible because such awareness is built through a whole new social media and Internet delivery system.”

Pollstar’s top-grossing tour of 2012 was posted by Madonna, who took in $296.1 million.

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