Live Music's (Good) Problem: Too Many Competing Headliners


A decade in the past, the live performance trade frightened that the eventual retirement of celebrity acts like The Rolling Stones would convey a decline in enterprise as a result of few up-and-coming or established artists have been being developed to take their place. But fast-forward to 2018, and the trade is dealing with the alternative drawback: No one needs to come back off the street, whereas a glut of latest streaming sensations are attempting to muscle in, pushing up total income whereas intensifying the competitors.

“We’ve gone from worrying about not having sufficient headline expertise to now having to play air site visitors management with all the massive enviornment and stadium excursions that went out this 12 months,” says Bob Roux, president of U.S. live shows at Live Nation. “We are routing excursions for 2020 and even 2021. There are simply a whole lot of artists that wish to be on the street.”

The hypercompetitive atmosphere has been a boon for live performance promotion large Live Nation, whose ticket income rose 7 % within the second quarter of 2018 and sponsorship income is up 12 % over the identical quarter in 2017, in line with Live Nation’s Security & Exchange Commission filings. The three largest outings of the 12 months — Ed Sheeran’s Divide Tour, Taylor Swift’s Reputation Tour and Beyoncé’s On the Run II with Jay-Z — are on monitor to gross almost $1 billion in mixed ticket gross sales, up from the $600 million that the highest three excursions grossed in 2008, in line with Billboard Boxscore.

But not everyone seems to be cheering because the race for venue area and followers’ intensifies. While some excursions by newcomers like Post Malone have grossed north of $20 million in 2018, different runs by older acts like The Smashing Pumpkins have struggled to compete, with solely a handful of exhibits promoting out on the 30-year-old rock band’s reunion tour.

The rising range of acts on the street, in the meantime, is forcing the stay trade to grapple with one other problem: lack of range inside its personal ranks. This 12 months, each main pageant from Coachella and Lollapalooza to Austin City Limits had a number of hip-hop headliners — a change from years previous. But there are comparatively few executives of shade on the prime of the stay biz.

“As an trade, we have now not finished sufficient to sort out range, and now we’re attempting to play catch-up,” says WME associate Kevin Shivers, who, together with the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, helped curate “Out of Balance: Does the Touring Business Need an Inclusivity Rider?,” one in every of 20 panels at Billboard’s Live Music Summit Nov. 13-14 on the Montage in Beverly Hills. The Live Music Awards on Nov. 13 will honor John Mayer with the Legend of Live Award, in addition to Sebastian Maniscalco, Billboard’s first comic of the 12 months, and artist of the 12 months Shawn Mendes.

Inclusion is one in every of many matters slated for debate on the annual convention, which examines the long-term well being of the live-music enterprise and the challenges forward. Top artists, brokers, promoters and managers will focus on all the things from ticket pricing and psychological well being on tour to the tips of sustaining an unbiased spirit in an more and more homogeneous pageant market.

Mendes will be part of his supervisor, Andrew Gertler, to debate his touring technique, whereas rising artists together with 2018 American Idol winner Maddie Poppe will take part alongside longtime street warriors. Dropkick Murphys founder Ken Casey and his supervisor, Jeff Castelaz, will discuss concerning the band’s decadeslong success (see web page 58), and New Kids on the Block will take the stage to speak about their upcoming 53-city North American Mixtape Tour and the way they nonetheless promote out arenas. The group could have predicted the key to success for any artist in in the present day’s heated touring market means again in 1988 with the identify of their debut album: Hangin’ Tough.


During two days of panels at Billboard’s annual touring convention, the trade’s energy gamers will delve into all the things from ticket-pricing technique to pageant overload, and can honor the 12 months’s prime performers, venues and executives with an array of awards (see panel highlights and the whole record, under).

DAY 1: Nov. 13

“Masters of Illusion: The Magic and Money Behind Successful Hologram Tours” (9 a.m.) They’ve acquired Roy Orbison, Ronnie James Dio and Amy Winehouse. But do hologram excursions have a long-term future? Paradigm brokers Dan Weiner and Seth Malasky focus on with Base Hologram’s Bob Ringe and Marty Tudor.

“Representation Matters: Agents on the Top of Their Game” (11:25 a.m.) Artist Group International’s Marsha Vlasic, Madison House’s Nadia Prescher, United Talent Agency’s Cheryl Paglierani, Creative Artists Agency’s Alli McGregor, WME’s Samantha Kirby Yoh and Paradigm’s Corrie Christopher Martin discuss touring energy with Billboard West Coast editor Melinda Newman.

“Rock the Bells: Meet Hip-Hop’s Next Generation of Festival Promoters” (four:30 p.m.) Vibe editor-in-chief Datwon Thomas interviews the promoters behind such hip-hop festivals as J. Cole’s Dreamville Fest, Broccoli City and Rolling Loud.

DAY 2: Nov. 14

“Artist Development: What Does It Mean to Break Through in 2018?” (9:30 a.m.) Billboard Dance’s Matt Medved talks with United Talent Agency’s Steve Gordon, RCA Records’ John Fleckenstein and different insiders about what it takes to raise an artist from the membership degree to the sector stage.

“Unmanagable: A Conversation With Father-Son Management Partners Irving and Jeffrey Azoff” (three:45 p.m.) Music’s strongest household discusses the state of the stay biz.

New Kids on the Block (four:30 p.m.) Thirty years after breaking by means of with Hangin’ Tough, America’s favourite boy band discusses its future touring plans and shares behind-the-scenes particulars from its current live performance on the Apollo Theater in Harlem. NKOTB’s administration and company groups weigh in on the secrets and techniques to their success. (Note: all occasions PST.)

⤏ John Mayer

After ringing in 2018 with a New Year’s Eve present at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., Mayer and Dead & Company performed to 500,000 followers this 12 months, after he offered out 5 solo enviornment exhibits in Brazil in 2017.

⤏ Shawn Mendes

The singer, who has reported over $35 million in 2017 ticket gross sales, is prepping for his largest tour but: 67 dates, beginning March 2019.

⤏ Sebastian Maniscalco

The Stay Hungry creator is the primary recipient of this award, having offered out Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre and 5 nights at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, plus reserving 4 2019 exhibits in Madison Square Garden.

Selected by family and friends of the late super-agent, Paradigm and Billboard workers.

⤏ Rebeca León, Lionfish Management

⤏ Brittanie Delava, AEG

⤏ Kelly Stelbasky, Live Nation

⤏ Jeff Krones, Creative Artists Agency

⤏ Alicia Karlin, Madison House

Selected by Billboard workers.

⤏ Kevin Lyman, Preventum Initiative/FEND

Selected by Billboard workers.

⤏ Post Malone

⤏ Maluma

⤏ Cardi B

Based on grosses reported to Billboard Boxscore.

⤏ Beyoncé & Jay-Z

⤏ Ed Sheeran

⤏ Taylor Swift

Based on attendance reported to Billboard Boxscore.

⤏ Beyoncé & Jay-Z

⤏ Ed Sheeran

⤏ Taylor Swift

Based on grosses reported to Billboard Boxscore.

⤏ Beyoncé & Jay-Z

⤏ Ed Sheeran

⤏ Taylor Swift

Based on grosses reported to Billboard Boxscore.

⤏ Lollapalooza Brazil

⤏ Life Is Beautiful

⤏ Outside Lands

Based on grosses reported to Billboard Boxscore.

⤏ The Forum, Inglewood, Calif.

⤏ Madison Square Garden, New York

⤏ O2 Arena, London

Based on grosses reported to Billboard Boxscore.

⤏ Auditorio Nacional, Mexico City

⤏ Radio City Music Hall, New York

⤏ Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas

Based on grosses reported to Billboard Boxscore.


⤏ Frontier Touring Group

⤏ Live Nation

Based on grosses reported to Billboard Boxscore.

⤏ Another Planet Entertainment


⤏ T4F-Time for Fun

Based on Billboard Boxscore’s record of the highest 50 excursions.

⤏ Creative Artists Agency

⤏ Paradigm


Based on trade nominations.

⤏ Travis Scott x Red Bull, Lyft, Snapchat + American Express

⤏ Marshmello x Bumble

⤏ Khalid x Hollister

Based on trade nominations.

⤏ Andrew Gertler

⤏ Sharon Osbourne

⤏ Dre London

Based on grosses reported to Billboard Boxscore.

⤏ Kevin Hart

⤏ Sebastian Maniscalco

⤏ Chris Rock

Based on grosses reported to Billboard Boxscore.

⤏ 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C.

⤏ Brooklyn Steel, Brooklyn

⤏ The Showroom on the Flamingo, Las Vegas

Based on grosses reported to Billboard Boxscore.

⤏ Greek Theatre, Los Angeles

⤏ Hearst Greek Theatre, Berkeley, Calif.

⤏ Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles

The highest-grossing occasion of the 12 months, as reported to Billboard Boxscore.

⤏ Ed Sheeran: Wembley Stadium, London, June 14-17 (4 exhibits)

⤏ Taylor Swift: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J., July 20-22 (three)

⤏ U2, Estádio do Morumbi, São Paolo, Oct. 19, 21, 22 and 25 (4)

This article initially appeared within the Nov. 10 difficulty of Billboard.