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Concert business is up 11% in first half of 2011, Pollstar reports

July 7, 2011 |  9:01 pm

U2 360 Anaheim-Arkasha Stevenson LAT 
The record industry isn't the only segment of the music business that appears to be on the rebound. The concert industry too, after a difficult year in 2010, is showing total revenue from the Top 50 tours worldwide is up more than 11% for the first half of 2011, according to Pollstar, the concert-industry tracking publication.

Totals from those 50 tours added up to $1.65 billion, despite a 2.1% drop in the number of tickets sold -- 19.4 million -- meaning the bump in the total box office came as the result of higher ticket prices on average.

The increase in the cost of concert attendance “was not expected coming off a down year,” said Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni. “It's possible that much of this is driven by artists playing smaller venues at higher prices or better artist packaging, which increases show costs but offers fans a better value for their ticket dollar.”

Ticket prices increased by an average of 13.6%, or $10.23, worldwide, Pollstar reported. The story for the North American concert business is even better, with total revenue on the Top 50 tours jumping 16.2%, to $1.12 billion.

The news comes on the heels of Wednesday’s midyear report on recorded music sales, which also showed an increase over the same period last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Leading the pack on the concert trail, not surprisingly, is U2, with a six-month total gross of $164 million on the latest leg of its 360 Tour, which has become the highest-grossing tour of all time. With an average ticket price of $97.65 in stadiums where attendance averaged more than 104,000 people per show, U2 took in a whopping $10.25 million per night.  Bon Jovi's top-grossing tour of 2010, by comparison, took in $201.1 million worldwide over the whole year, according to Pollstar's figures.

Behind U2 is Roger Waters, who has pulled in $97.9 million with an average ticket price of $112.99, followed by Bon Jovi ($921 million, $96.26 ticket average), Lady Gaga ($65.3 million, $96.77 tickets) and Usher ($62.2 million, $83.28 tickets).

Rounding out the midyear Top 10 are Kylie Minogue ($52.1 million, $100.33 tickets), Kenny Chesney ($46.7 million, $72.41 tickets), Andre Rieu ($46 million, $113.72 tickets), Elton John ($44.6 million, $96.71 tickets) and Taylor Swift ($42.9 million, $68 tickets).

“The increased admission price seems to be spread throughout the chart rankings,” Pollstar’s report says. “There were 12 tours on this year’s chart that charged more than $100 per ticket, as compared to only eight last year. Even more interesting is the huge increase in tours hovering just under the magic three-digit price point. There were 22 tours charging more than $90 this year as compared to 12 tours last year.”

RELATED:

Nielsen SoundScan 2011 midyear report: Music sales up for a change

Nothing but dollar signs on the horizon: U2 sets record for highest-grossing tour

Live review: U2 at Angel Stadium

-- Randy Lewis

Photo of U2 singer Bono during the group's 360 Tour stop in Anaheim in June. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times.

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