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Despite Police Tour, Concerts, Like CDs, Experience 2007 Decline

Like much of the music industry, North American ticket sales suffered a drop this year, as the top twenty tours of 2007 generated only $996 million, the worst numbers since 2004. Despite the Police reunion tour — the year’s top-earner with $131 million, which makes it the fourth highest-grossing in history — totals still were down 15.6 percent from last year’s gross. Kenny Chesney and Justin Timberlake tours made $71.1 and $70.6 million, respectively, to take second and third place. While four acts sold more than one million concert tickets in ’06, only the Police and Chesney surpassed that total in 2007.

The concert circuit was no doubt hurt by the Hannah Montana Ticketmaster scandal, as well as the fact that the top six best-selling albums of 2007 were all released in 2006, which affected promotional tours. Perennial chart toppers the Rolling Stones also took a year off to tour Europe. Fingers are being pointed at the Dave Matthews Band and Bruce Springsteen, who both set out on fan-friendly tours that saw them price tickets at lower average prices. Still, the numbers would have been better if the number five tour, the Van Halen jaunt with David Lee Roth back at the mike, had started at its original kick-off point in the summer of 2007. Because of its late start (due to Eddie Van Halen’s rehab stint), the majority of its shows will bleed over into 2008. With Van Halen still getting along a mere five days ’til New Year’s, and a possible Led Zeppelin tour on the horizon, 2008 looks to be a stronger year for the concert biz.

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