With the rise of free music streaming services like Spotify, touring has become the bread and butter of groups both big and small. As such, the market for tours this year was arguably as diverse as it has ever been. More importantly, though, bands hit the road and hit the road hard in 2011, generating massive profits for a year of decidedly positive turnarounds.
According to Billboard’s year-end report, U2 were the top touring act of 2011, with their “360 Tour” generating $293.3 million in box office revenue and nearly 3 million in ticket sales. That amount brings the entire tour’s total revenue to $736,421,586, with attendance of more than seven million people throughout the tour’s run from June 30th, 2009 to July 30th, 2011.
In second place was New Jersey’s own Bon Jovi, who generated more than $193 million in box office sales with “The Circle” tour. That amount, alongside numbers from 2010, brings that tour’s total profits to $265 million, financially one of the band’s biggest outings in its 28-year history.
Demonstrating the power of a well-planned reunion, British boy band Take That generated $185 million to nab the third place spot. Even with most of that revenue generated from shows in the UK and Europe, the group’s July stand at Wembley Stadium in London grossed $61.7 million, breaking the previous record of $38.7 million set by Bruce Springsteen’s 10 sold-out shows at Giants Stadium in 2003.
The remaining top 10 was comprised of Roger Waters’ “The Wall” ($150 million), Taylor Swift ($97.3 million), Kenny Chesney ($84.6 million), Usher ($75 million), Lady Gaga ($72 million), Andre Rieu ($67 million), and Sade ($50 million).
In all, 2011 was a successful year for touring, generating profits across the board to help rebound from 2010, which saw sizable declines in gross profit and attendance. This year, there were 20% fewer shows reported worldwide, yet they were still able to secure a 15% increase in gross ticket sales and a 1.2% increase in attendance. At shows across the globe, the average gross profit per show was up an impressive 45%, while the average attendance was up 27.3%. Overall, 2011 generated some $4 billion in gross profit, just under the $4.4 billion worldwide reported in 2009.
Highest-Earning Tours of 2011:
01) U2 – $293.3 million
02) Bon Jovi – $193 million
03) Take That – $185 million
04) Roger Waters – $150 million
05) Taylor Swift – $97.3 million
06) Kenny Chesney – $84.6 million
07) Usher – $75 million
08) Lady Gaga – $72 million
09) Andrie Rieu – $76 million
10) Sade – $50 million