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Live music industry celebrates 2018 success

The live music industry has achieved a record year in 2018 with more than 152.1 million tickets sold and total gross of more than $10.4bn (£8.2bn/€9.1bn), according to Pollstar.

In addition, the combined gross of the top 10 of Pollstar’s Worldwide Top 100 surpassed $2bn for the first time ever.

Ed Sheeran’s Divide Tour led the way with the highest-grossing single-year tour of all time, grossing $432m.

Taylor Swift also broke records in 2018 with her Reputation Stadium Tour hitting $345m. Both Sheeran and Swift beat U2’s 2017 Experience + Innocence tour, which now sits at No.3 in the all-time charts with a gross of $316m.

Not only is box office data highlighting 2018’s live music success, several industry moguls have shared their stories of growth and innovation with Pollstar.

“Our year’s been amazing,” said Dennis Arfa, founder and chief executive of Artist Group International.  “Obviously Billy Joel sold out eight stadium shows, and his run at Madison Square Garden continues with 12 sold-out shows for the fifth consecutive year.

“Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper had an amazing tour. Metallica continues to kill it on the highest level you possibly can. The Smashing Pumpkins re-established themselves as arena headliners. Hall & Oates continue to do great business in arenas.

“Our year with Def Leppard and Journey was through the roof, we did 10 stadiums with them and sold over one million tickets. Kidz Bop had the most successful amphitheatre run last year as the brand continues to grow to epic proportions.”

Live Nation president Joe Berchtold wrote in an email: “We expect 2018 to be another record-breaking year for us.

“Overall, we are on track to sell 90 million tickets to concerts across more than 33,000 shows and spend more than $6bn producing concerts, making us the largest financial partner to musicians. Each of our divisions – concerts, sponsorship and ticketing – continues to grow and deliver as we fulfil an ever-expanding desire for concerts around the world.”

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