Midyear Touring Report: One Direction, Foo Fighters Top the List
As the opening riffs of "Jumpin’ Jack Flash" sliced through the Midwest summer air, the fans at The Rolling Stones concert at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 4 roared at a volume that would rival the postshow fireworks on this holiday night.

“In a summer of tours where ­familiar hits are minting box-office gold – One Direction’s singalong pop, Foo Fighters’ rampaging rock, Kenny Chesney’s warm country baritone – the Stones’ unrivaled canon fits right in with what’s selling tickets now.”

“Stadium shows hit a peak in 2014, with Live Nation promoting about 70 dates in those venues, selling more than 3 million tickets. While there aren’t as many stadiums booked in 2015, Roux says Joel, Foo Fighters, Luke Bryan, Zac Brown Band, Jason Aldean and One Direction are “all doing stadium shows for us this summer.” As is Taylor Swift for The Messina Group/AEG, whose 1989 Tour just began as the midyear recap period ended.”


The first four decades of Irving Azoff’s career were marked by fearsome advocacy on behalf of his clients that did much to set the parameters of the music industry. There’s no reason to think that the fifth will be any different.

Two years ago, Azoff abruptly resigned as ­chairman of Live Nation, followed in the fall of 2013 by the announcement of a joint venture, Azoff MSG Entertainment, with James Dolan, executive ­chairman of the Madison Square Garden Company and CEO of Cablevision.

In January, Azoff made headlines when the MSG-owned Forum in Inglewood, Calif., reopened after a $100 million renovation that saw Azoff’s wife, Shelli, playing a major role and his management clients, The Eagles, headlining the first six nights (at a total gross of nearly $9.9 million, according to Billboard Boxscore). He made news again in March when he helped broker the deal that brought Phil Jackson to the Dolan-owned Knicks as the basketball team’s president.

Throughout 2014, AMSGE made ­expansive moves. Azoff’s startup publishing rights ­organization, Global Music Rights, built a roster of 40 artists and 20,000 songs, then put YouTube on notice. Azoff took a strong position in the comedy world – a $300 million-a-year live business, according to Billboard estimates – first signing Chelsea Handler as a management client, then acquiring a 50 percent stake in Levity Entertainment Group, which owns comedy clubs nationwide and counts The Mentalist, Iron Chef America and Comedy Central specials among its TV division’s production interests. AMSGE also took a 50 percent stake in branding specialists Burns Entertainment, experiential ­marketers Pop2Life and social media marketing and online talent management agency Digital Brand Architects.

Music publishing, branding, venue management – virtually any way of making money in the music business, Azoff is now in it. And as always, he’s in it not just to win it, but to reshape it.

“In the 40 years that we have worked with Irving, we have been continually amazed at his business acumen – his foresight, timing, creativity, fearlessness, loyalty, wisdom and everything else the band expected … and demanded. The only frustration being when we were on a tight deadline to deliver a record, he didn’t help write one song.” – Don Henley

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The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour starring Beyoncé is No.1 on Billboard's Boxscore

1. Beyoncé $5,554,170
2. Justin Timberlake $3,702,833
3. Justin Timberlake $3,663,790
4. Justin Timberlake $3,324,289
5. Celine Dion $2,465,920

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Taylor Swift's 1989 World Tour Has Now Grossed $130 Million

Taylor Swift has taken her 1989 World Tour to the $130 million mark in ticket sales, according to Billboard Boxscore, and it’s on track to become her highest-grossing tour ever.

The 1989 tour has grossed just $20 million less than the final box office tally from her Red tour that wrapped last summer after a 15-month span (its currently her highest-grossing tour). And the 1989 tour still has four months to go before ending on Dec. 12 in Australia.

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Katy Perry Down Under Leads Latest Hot Tours Recap

Katy Perry dominates the weekly Hot Tours tally (see list, below) with more than $42 million in ticket sales reported from her Prismatic tour’s final stand of 2014: a six-week run through Australia and New Zealand.

The pop diva sold out 25 performances in six venues during the trek that kicked off on Nov. 7 in Perth and wrapped on Dec. 20 in Auckland.

The Oceania trek, promoted by Dainty Group in Melbourne, was the third leg of the tour that kicked off in Europe last May in support of Perry’s 2013 album Prism. North America followed in June and continued until mid-October. With the Aussie dates added, the Prismatic tour’s overall gross tops $142 million, based on reported Boxscore results. Attendance at 97 concerts during 2014 totaled 1.3 million from the first three legs of the tour.

Perry will hit the road again on Feb. 16, kicking off a final slate of 21 European shows with a performance in Barcelona. The tour is set to wrap on March 22 in Stockholm.

Life Behind the Boxscores

Life has been difficult as of late, but the haze is lifting and the insurmountable task of getting my colonial comic books back on course is starting to look surmountable thanks, mainly, to a book extension. I have a lot of work to do over the next two months, after which I will be taking a vacation - a trip that I’ve wanted to do for years. A little background…

I love baseball. I think everyone who reads this blog knows that. Baseball is an integral part of my life. Over the past several months, I often turned to the calming call of a catcher to the electrifying crack of a bat to keep my head straight. I’ve already been to eight games this year and I score every game.

I started scoring games last year, using the programs they hand out before each game. My father taught me how to score games when I was a kid and it’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing. Mid-season last year my wife bought me a score book. I used it to score the final games of the Nats’ season and all of the playoff games I attended. I used to score opening day this season and the second game of the season, as well. After that game, however, I somehow lost my scorebook.

I was devastated. Truly devastated. My scorebook was a record of the games I attended and what happened at each game. I bought a new scorebook, however. It’s comically large but there’s a section on each page for notes. These notes are meant to be so-and-so had trouble with the off-speed or so-and-so is showing some shoulder discomfort. However, I use the notes section for life notes. What was going on in my life, who I attended the game with, and maybe some funny conversations that were had.

I now like keeping score even more. I’ll often look back at my notes from the day and my scorebook has become a diary, of sorts, of my life measured in baseball games. And, with that thought, I decided to plan the ultimate baseball road trip. An adventure, catalogued in journal-style notes, base hits, and strikeouts. I’ll be taking my scorebook on the road with the following schedule:

Friday, July 26th: Mets @ Nationals

Saturday, July 27th: Mets @ Nationals

Sunday, July 28th: Mets @ Nationals

Monday, July 29th: Cardinals @ Pittsburgh

Tuesday, July 30th: White Sox @ Cleveland

Wednesday, July 31st: Nats @ Detroit

Thursday, August 1st: Dodgers @ Cubs

Friday, August 2nd: Nats @ Brewers

Saturday, August 3rd: Nats @ Brewers

Sunday, August 4th: Nats @ Brewers

Monday, August 5th: Dodgers @ St. Louis

Tuesday, August 6th: Oakland @ Cincinnati

I’m still working out the details. Whether I want to do the games by myself or try and meet up with a friend (or even a stranger) at each game. I’ll probably get the cheapest tickets I can get on StubHub (I routinely find tickets for under $10) and stay at hostels, cheap motels, friend’s houses, and maybe even couch surf a bit. And I’ll be recording the entire trip, with an eye towards compiling it all into a book about life behind the boxscores. The friends I make, the adventures I take, the games I watch, and the conversations I have.

This trip is going to be pretty amazing. I know it already. If you’re in any of those cities and would like to meet up for a game in case I decide to go that route, give me a shout.


Billboard has released their annual year-end charts. This year Drake managed to rank #1 on both the Rap Airplay Artistsand R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Artists charts.

Every year Billboard compiles their year-end charts which measure performance from the 1st week in December to the last week in November. This year’s range happened to be from December 7, 2013 to November, 29, 2014. Drake is not only the #1 R&B/Hip-Hop and Rap Airplay artist, but ranked #16 overall on the top artists chart. According to Billboard,“The year-end top artist category ranks the best-performing acts of the year derived from activity on the Billboard 200 albums tally and the Billboard Hot 100 singles list, as well as streaming, social and boxscore data.”


Taylor Swift's 1989 World Tour Has Now Grossed $130 Million

Taylor Swift has taken her 1989 World Tour to the $130 million mark in ticket sales, according to Billboard Boxscore, and it’s on track to become her highest-grossing tour ever.

The 1989 tour has grossed just $20 million less than the final box office tally from her Red tour that wrapped last summer after a 15-month span (its currently her highest-grossing tour). And the 1989 tour still has four months to go before ending on Dec. 12 in Australia.

So far, the 1989 tour has reported 1.1 million tickets sold tickets from 37 performances through the end of August.

Swift easily tops Billboard’s latest Hot Tours tally (see list, below), her fourth appearance this year on the list. Her ranking is based on box-office grosses totaling $43.5 million. Her shows reported during the past week were 17 concerts from three arenas during her European run in June as well as six venues on her ongoing trek through North American markets that stretches through the end of October.

The tour’s European trek included a headlining appearance at the Barclaycard British Summer Time festival at London’s Hyde Park on June 27 along with five arena performances in four countries. This recap includes the sold out shows in Glasgow, Manchester and Dublin.

Among the six North American venues, Staples Center in Los Angeles logged $8.9 million in box office revenue from five sellout shows. It’s the 1989 tour’s top gross at an arena since the May launch.

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METHODOLOGY: Money Makers was compiled with Nielsen Music and Billboard Boxscore, using 2015 U.S. data only. All revenue figures cited are Billboard estimates and may not equal the sum of the subcategories due to rounding. Revenue from merchandising, synchronization and sponsorship is not included. The following royalty rates, minus a 4 percent producer’s fee, were used: album and track sales, 22 percent of retail revenue; streaming revenue, 22 percent for current artists and 50 percent for heritage artists. Publishing royalties were estimated using statutory mechanical rates for album and track sales; the Copyright Royalty Board streaming formula; and an average of $2.50 per play for hit radio and 60 cents per play for heritage spins. For labels’ direct deals with interactive services, blended audio and video rates of, respectively, $0.0063 and $0.0015. (A 10 percent manager’s fee was deducted from each category.) Touring revenue, after the manager’s cut, equals 34 percent of an act’s Boxscore. The top 10 lists for sales royalties were calculated based on physical and digital albums and track sales, the streaming royalty list, track on-demand audio and video streams, and estimated royalties from webcasting, SiriusXM and Music Choice.

Ok, I get it. These are US numbers only. I thought they looked too low. Not too shabby. 

Taylor Swift's Red Wraps as All-Time Country Tour

Taylor Swift has smashed the all-time revenue record for a single tour by a country artist with the final stats reported from her Red tour that played arenas and stadiums in four continents during a 15-month span.  According to Billboard’s Boxscore archives, the tour’s overall gross of $150 million surpasses the prior country artist record held by double-billed Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Soul2Soul tour that brought in $141 million during 2006 and 2007.

The Red tour, which tops the weekly Hot Tours ranking, began last year on March 13 in Omaha, Neb. and ran for six months in North America before closing with a three-show stand in Nashville in September. In November and December, Swift traveled Down Under for a five-city jaunt through Australia and New Zealand to close out the year.  She performed in London and Berlin in February to kick off the tour’s 2014 schedule, and the final trek covered six cities in Asia, beginning with a May 30 performance in Shanghai and ending on June 12 with a final concert in Singapore.  The Red tour’s final box office counts total $150,184,971 in revenue from 1,702,933 sold tickets at 86 performances in 12 countries.

Swift’s tour itinerary included 15 stadiums worldwide during its run.  Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. topped the list with the best box office results during the tour.  The home stadium of the NFL’s New England Patriots produced the highest gross and attendance counts with $9.4 million in sales from 110,712 fans at two shows last summer (July 26-27). This is the third time the stadium has featured the country superstar in a headlining tour performance.  She also played Gillette in 2010 on her Fearless tour as well as the Speak Now outing the following year.  Among stadiums that hosted the tour for a single performance, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field claims the top gross and attendance counts with $4.7 million from a sellout crowd of 56,047 on July 6, 2013.

Box office results from arena performances on the Red tour place London’s O2 Arena ahead of the pack with the highest gross and attendance numbers. The London venue recorded $5.8 million in sales from 74,740 tickets sold during its five-show run (Feb. 1-2, 4, 10-11).  Among the arenas that brought in the tour for just one performance, the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai tops the list based on sales of $1.8 million. The best attendance for a single performance was recorded in Fargo, North Dakota.  Swift played the Fargodome on Sept. 6, 2013 with a capacity crowd of 21,073.


The Year in Pop 2014: One Direction, 'Frozen,' & Pharrell Dominate

One Direction takes home the trophy as Billboard’s top artist of the year for 2014.

The English/Irish quintet (comprising Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson), is the first group to earn the top artist distinction since Destiny’s Child ruled in 2001. In total, One Direction is just the ninth group to be the top artist of the year, since Billboard started a year-end overall artist category in 1981.

Billboard’s year-end music recaps are based on chart performance during between the Dec. 7, 2013 and Nov. 29, 2014-dated charts. The year-end top artist category ranks the best-performing acts of the year derived from activity on the Billboard 200 albums tally and the Billboard Hot 100 singles list, as well as streaming, social and boxscore data.

One Direction is additionally just the fifth non-American-born act to be the top artist of the year. They follow British Adele (who was tops in both 2012 and 2011), Canadian-born Alanis Morissette (1996), Swedish quartet Ace of Base (1994) and Englishman George Michael (1988). Thus, One Direction is just the second non-American group to be artist of the year, after Ace of Base.

One Direction’s achievement was supported in large part by the success of the vocal group’s Midnight Memories album, their massive concert tour grosses as reported to Billboard Boxscore and their performance on social media (they’re No. 9 on the year-end Social 50 recap

Their Where We Are tour is the year’s highest-grossing trek, and finishes as the year-end top tour, with $290 million grossed from 69 performances.

Midnight Memories, the group’s third studio set, was released on Nov. 25, 2013 through SYCO/Columbia Records and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The arrival made the act the only group to debut at No. 1 with their first three releases. Midnight Memories followed the chart-topping bows of One Direction’s debut, Up All Night, and its follow-up, Take Me Home. (The group extended its own record with the recent No. 1 bow of its fourth release, Four, on the Dec. 6-dated chart, the first week of the 2015 chart year.)

Midnight Memories finishes 2014 as the No. 4 title on the year-end Billboard 200 recap, behind Taylor Swift’s 1989 (No. 3, on Big Machine Records), Beyonce’s self-titled album (No. 2, Parkwood/Columbia) and the soundtrack to Frozen (No. 1, Walt Disney). x/x