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2010 Review

Billboard declared the summer touring season the worst since the mid 90s, with cancellations by acts like The Eagles, Rihanna and Kings of Leon. But as we will see, not all was doom and gloom…

The Numbers

Research by PRS for Music put a figure of £1.54billion (€1.8bn) on the worth of the UK live industry in 2009, 9.4% up on 2008. Economist Will Page was at pains to make clear that defining ancillary live music revenues channeled back into the music industry was a challenge. “Put bluntly, the value of live music is much broader than the face value of a ticket” he said. Page’s report pegged primary ticket revenues up 5.8% to £957million (€1,117m); secondary up 15% to £172m (€201m); and on-the-night spend up by 16% to £408m (€476m). While the gap between the superstar acts and everyone else widens alarmingly, all of this was achieved during the deepest economic downturn in a generation. Which is, to say the least, encouraging. In the US, meanwhile, (according to Pollstar) the top 100 tours in the first half of 2010 grossed a combined $965.5m, 17% ($196.8m) down from the same period last year, the lowest since 2005. Total tickets were 15.9 million, down nearly 12% on last year, and the lowest since the 14.5 million recorded in 2005. The US economic situation being blamed for a 15% drop and the downturn is said to have affected markets of all sizes, though larger shows in particular. And with Canada holding up better than North America, our US colleagues were left even


• A freak electrical storm on New Year’s Eve forces the last day of Australia’s Pyramid Rock Festival to be cancelled. • UK retailer HMV acquires a 66% majority shareholding in promoter and venue firm Mama Group, building on a previous JV with its venues arm in which HMV invested £18.2million (€21m). • Ministers in France are said to be seriously considering taxing ISPs’ advertising revenues and using the income to develop legal online outlets for music, books and films. • Austrian promoters Harry Jenner, Richard Hoermann and Ewald Tatar form Nu Coast, a JV to share back-office resources and seek possible synergies. • While music trade fair Popkomm announces it will return in 2010, Hamburg’s Reeperbahn (23-25 Sept.) steps up the competition by announcing a collaboration on content with C/O Pop (22-28 June) in Munich.

• Dutch promoter Willem Venema sets up new firm Double Vee after his previous company, The Alternative, is wound up when his major shareholder collapses with debts of €26m. • German ticketer CTS Eventim challenges the UK Competition Commission’s ruling to allow the Live Nation/ Ticketmaster merger, saying it was not allowed a fair hearing. • A trend that probably won’t catch on in the West, two Chinese singers are caught lip synching at a concert in Sichuan and both fined CNY80,000 (€8,500). • Australian Arts Minister Pete Garrett outlines plans for a law to force international artists performing in venues over 4,000-capacity to include domestic acts on the bill. • The US Justice Department clears the merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment, forming the world’s largest live entertainment company.


• Venue operator SMG wins a 12-year contract to operate the Wroclaw Stadium (cap. 44,000) in Poland, set to open in time for the 2012 European Soccer Championships. • Chicago-based The Windish Agency opens a New York office, with staff including Mike Mori, who was formerly at The Agency Group. • Paul Bolton and Adam Saunders are the latest agents to depart UK firm Helter Skelter, joining X-Ray Touring. Their move follows agent Paul Franklin’s departure to CAA in October. • Beyoncé Knowles wins six Grammys at the annual US music awards show, more than any woman on a single night in the 52-year history of the awards. • Universal Music-owned merchandising company Bravado inks new deals with Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys and Whitney Houston for their forthcoming campaigns.

Above: Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball tour was one of the year’s highlights

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IQ Magazine issue 33.

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