Higher Ticket Prices Help The Concert Industry Put On A Happy Face

noah | October 15, 2008 3:15 am

In the face of tough economic times and not very many big-ticket shows, the concert industry actually did better this summer than it did in 2007! Well, if you only look at one measure of the industry, anyway. Billboard reports that overall concert grosses from May 1 to Labor Day were $1 billion, which is up 5% from $948.5 million in 2007. Hooray! More money! But lurking underneath those higher numbers is a slightly more troubling statistic–overall attendance was actually down 4% year-to-year, from 19.5 million tickets sold in 2007 to 18.7 million sold this year. (And that doesn’t even count the number of people who didn’t go to shows that they’d already bought tickets for because the price of gas was too high.) So basically that difference was made up by higher ticket prices, which will probably only be driven upward as a result of these sorta-happy numbers and ever-weakening consumer confidence. The No. 1 ticket last summer: Kenny Chesney, thanks to his filling the “concert-as-party” void left by the lack of a Jimmy Buffett summer jaunt. The 10 highest-grossing tours are after the jump–how many did you attend?

1. Kenny Chesney: $62.7 million 2. The Police: $44.5 million 3. Tom Petty/Steve Winwood: $34.6 million 4. Dave Matthews Band: $30.7 million 5. Bruce Springsteen: $28.4 million 6. Billy Joel: $25.6 million 7. The Jonas Brothers: $25.1 million 8. American Idols Live: $24.6 million 9. Neil Diamond: $22.4 million 10. Rascal Flatts: $21.4 million

For the record, I attended two of the above concerts–although I only paid to get into one of them. (Sadly, I missed the American Idol tour, which means I was deprived of the chance to see Ramiele Malubay show some personality.)

Economy can’t cool summer tours: Earnings rise 5% [USA Today]