Outside of a few lingering pre-Christmas shows, the live music industry is about to enter its holiday hibernation. As everyone catches their breath, it’s time to tally up some box office receipts for tours in 2022.
Bad Bunny, the Latin artist (and the most-streamed person on Spotify and Apple’s “Artist of the Year”) grossed US$435.8 million over 43 dates spanning just four months on the road in 2022. His “World’s Hottest Tour” finished in Mexico City over the weekend with two shows grossing US$10.5 million.
Here’s an example of how high demand was: If a venue could hold 17,000 people, there were typically 300,000 people waiting in the queue to buy tickets.
This haul beats that of Ed Sheeran who brought in US$432.3 million on his Divide tour in 2018. But hang on. If we look at multi-year tours (i.e. not a tour started and completed in the same calendar year), Sheeran is still the champion for the Divide tour, which ran from 2017-19. Adjusted for inflation, his take was US$822,672,992. Then again, he needed 255 shows to reach that number.
Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, which started in 2018 and is still going–has brought in US$785,191,681. Making adjustments for inflation, the all-time touring champion is still U2 with the 360 Tour of 2009-11 with US$887,982,982.
Stepping back a bit, a new record was set for global tours. Ticket sales total US$6.28 billion in 2022. That’s up a whopping 13.2% from the pre-pandemic days of 2019. Then again, ticket prices were higher, weren’t they?