Baby Boomer Acts Fuel Surge in North American Concert Ticket Sales

Baby Boomer Acts Fuel Surge in North American Concert Ticket Sales
July 10, 2015

Mister D: While Bette is doing incredibly well, she is not playing nearly as many shows as the other acts. Hers was a very short tour in comparison to the others in the Top 10.

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Fueled by touring forces like the Rolling Stones and Garth Brooks, the North American concert industry hit a high note in the first half of 2015, selling a record 18.8 million tickets, up nearly 23% from the same period last year and breaking the previous high of 18.6 million tickets sold in 2013.

The mid-year tally, released Friday in a report by the trade publication Pollstar, underscores the role of live music as the lifeblood of the music industry, with ticket prices spiking and bands hitting the road in droves to maximize their earnings.

The Top 100 concert tours in North America have raked in a combined gross of $1.4 billion in ticket sales this year, up $402 million from last year. That gross surpassed the previous mid-year high, set in 2013, by 15%.

The cost of tickets is higher than ever, averaging $76.20 this year, a jump of more than $8 from last year. In general, country stars resisted the urge to jack up their prices. Garth Brooks, who returned to the stage to much fanfare, charged an average of $66 for his tickets, but still managed to score the No. 2 most lucrative North American tour, with a gross of $79.9 million in ticket sales. Seats at Rolling Stones concerts, by contrast, cost $178 on average. That helped the Stones rake in a gross of $80.7 million on their Zip Code tour and earned them the No. 1 spot so far this year.

Rounding out the top 10 (in millions of dollars) were Fleetwood Mac ($65.9), Kenny Chesney ($55.8), U2 ($40.3), Maroon 5 ($39.8), Neil Diamond ($37.7), Taylor Swift ($35.6), Elton John ($29.8) and Bette Midler ($28.2).

That ranking is certain to change as the year progresses and some of the biggest tours gain steam. U2 and Taylor Swift are only a couple months into their respective tours that will continue through the rest of the year.

One Direction doesn’t start its run of North American stadiums until next week, but the band has already grossed $107.7 million worldwide, and again ranks No. 1 among the Top 50 global tours.

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