Taylor Swift Leads Rebounding Concert Business

Beyonce, Jay Z and Justin Timberlake, Fleetwood Mac also top ticket-sales list

Taylor Swift brought her RED tour back to the New York market, playing a sold out show to more than 55,000 fans at MetLife Stadium on July 13th, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Larry Busacca/TAS/Getty
January 11, 2014 12:54 PM ET

With Taylor Swift leading the way, grossing more than $110 million for her North American tour, the concert business appears to have fully recovered from its summer struggles of three years ago. Overall ticket revenues have jumped from $1.7 billion in 2000 to $5.1 billion last year, according to Pollstar's newly released end-of-2013 data. The numbers are especially encouraging for fans, given average ticket prices went up just 1.1 percent, to $69.52. In part, prices were low because of tours like Swift, whose prices averaged $84.40, and second-place Bon Jovi, who grossed $107 million with $95 prices. 

The most expensive tour in Pollstar's Top 50 was the number-four Rolling Stones, who played just 18 shows (compared to Swift's 66) and averaged more than $228 per ticket.

Rolling Stone Readers' Poll: The 10 Best Taylor Swift Songs

Although managers, agents and promoters freaked out after the summer of 2010, when acts from Rihanna to the Jonas Brothers priced their tickets too high and wound up canceling shows due to low attendance, the concert business seems to have taken control of the problem. The U.S. economy is still recovering from a recession, but touring artists, for the most part, have kept costs reasonable. Country stars were especially cost-conscious – Kenny Chesney (Number Three) grossed $91 million with tickets averaging $77, Jason Aldean (Number 11) had $51 million with $48 tickets and Luke Bryan (Number 15) hit more than $44 million with super-cheap tickets averaging less than $40. 

The rest of the Top 10 includes: Beyonce ($76 million gross, $119 average tickets), Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake ($69 million, $111, just 14 shows), Fleetwood Mac ($67 million, $111), Pink ($63 million, $82), the Eagles ($60 million, $127) and Justin Bieber ($56 million, $78). Pollstar noted that younger acts – including One Direction, Bryan, the Zac Brown Band and Bruno Mars – made the Top 20 for the first time and could be preparing to take over from older stars who've dominated the concert business the last decade.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »