The North American concert business is off to a record start in what is shaping up to be another great year for the industry.
The Top 100 Tours hit a record $1.48 billion in combined grosses. That is up $45 million or 3.1% over last year’s record pace.
Even better news is that it was achieved by the Top 100 acts selling one million more tickets than at the same point in 2015.
The average gross was up $32,600 or 5.4% and the average tickets sold for each date worked by the Top 100 artists jumped by 7.6% to 8,422.
The increased sales may be in part because of a $1.58 or 2% decrease in the average ticket price to $74.62.
While business in 2016 has been very good in North America, it is even stronger in international markets where many acts are discovering new and highly lucrative tour stops. The Top 50 Worldwide Tours, essentially the cream of the business, posted spectacular numbers with a combined total gross of $1.98 billion. That is a record number and represents a 14.4% increase over last year.
The Top 50 sold a combined 22.6 million tickets. That is another record and represents a 13.5% or 2.7 million increase from the same period a year ago. The average ticket price was essentially flat with a 38-cent increase to $87.51.
It’s a spectacular year for Bruce and Beyoncé as their stadium treks post big numbers.
Beyoncé easily leads the parade in North America with $126.3 million. She finished second on the worldwide chart with $137.3 million but her international dates are just getting started and she will be back in the U.S. for more fall stadium dates.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band grabs the top spot worldwide with $170.7 million as his tour continues in Europe. He also returns to the U.S. in the fall where he will add to his $76.9 million first-half total.
Beyoncé is the only act in 2016 to sell more than 1 million tickets in North America. On a worldwide basis, both Coldplay and Springsteen have already sold more than 1.5 million tickets.
Outdoor festivals remain an important part of the business but they are not a license to print money. As their numbers increase, there is a very real danger that they are cannibalizing the market without a significant expansion of the talent pool. Coachella continues to amaze with an advance sellout of both weekends before even announcing talent. But few festivals fit that mold and even some of the most solidly entrenched events like Bonnaroo are subject to off years when the right package of talent is just not available.
After adding new events each year, the industry saw a number of returning country music festivals aborted early on because the right talent wasn’t available.
In the EDM space, Insomniac continues to produce great events like the Electric Daisy Carnival in spite of the pall placed over the industry by the implosion of SFX.
The amount of data being captured by Pollstar continues to increase as nearly 18,000 shows were reported worldwide in the first half of the year.
The data volume is up more than 12% to more than 42 million tickets sold and $2.4 billion in box office reports.
The Mid-Year Worldwide Ticket Sales Chart has been expanded from 100 to 200 positions to better reflect the breadth of the industry.
Live Nation continues to cement its position as the world’s biggest concert promoter. The company reported sales of nearly 15 million tickets, which is a huge jump from 10.4 million a year ago. AEG remains a solid second at nearly 7 million tickets sold which is about 800,000 more than a year ago even though they have yet to report their festival numbers.
Both the Mid-Year Top 100 Tours charts for North America and Worldwide include estimates for all dates worked by an artist.
For most tours, Pollstar has 80%-100% of the hard box office data and sales projections for the missing shows is not too difficult.
For a few artists, like Garth Brooks where venues have been intimidated into not reporting sales, we made extensive projections rather than ignore the tour.