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Billy Joel hits a remarkable (and never-to-be-broken) concert milestone

Billy Joel is coming up on his 74th birthday and has been playing music professionally since–wait for it–1964. He still tours occasionally, but he prefers it when people come to him.

In 2014, he launched a monthly residency at Madison Square Garden in New York. As I type this, he has played 87 such shows at the Garden with most of them sellouts. Official figures say that attendance has run 17,900 on the low side to 18,800. He’s vowed to continue the residency until he exhausts all demand.

No one is ever going to have this kind of MSG residency ever again. And no one will make this much money playing such gigs. With show 87, the residency has grossed US$200 million from a total of 1.6 million tickets sold. (This doesn’t include the 28 MSG shows he played before 2014.)

Gross per show started at US$1.973 million at the beginning to over US$3 million today. The cheapest tickets in 2014 were US$59.50; they’re now US$63.50. The best seats in the house have a face value of US$159.50.

If we want to go back to 1986, the first year Boxscore started publishing box office grosses, Joel has earned US$1.04 billion playing live.

(Via Billboard)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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3 thoughts on “Billy Joel hits a remarkable (and never-to-be-broken) concert milestone

  • If the residency grossed $200 Million, what does he walk away with? I have no idea how much artists of this calibre end up walking away with.

    • Hard to say, especially with a deal that’s now extended through nine years. When you get to be this big, you start with one set of terms which will be negotiated up or down based on performance. I can’t even begin to speculate on what Joel’s deal is now.

  • I feel Phish will surpass this milestone. They have an excellent relationship with msg. Another 7 shows this summer. Bye bye Billy.


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