The combination of more artists on the road to make up for falling music sales and escalating ticket prices has pushed the gross revenues for the live music industry to $20 billion. And while megatours by U2, Taylor Swift, One Direction and Madonna were a big part of this, the Grateful Dead won 2015. From Billboard:
As the sun began to set on Chicago’s Soldier Field, the positive vibe was palpable as more than 70,000 fans — most of them clutching American Beauty roses — settled in for arguably the most highly-anticipated shows of 2015: the Grateful Dead’s Fare Thee Well 50th anniversary concerts.
Fare Thee Well was the biggest show in a big year for the touring industry, which industry stakeholders say remains robust, buoyed by a healthy economy, popular artists on the road, and an increasingly global marketplace, as well as new media marketing that taps into the power of all three. Add to that a general consumer trend toward the purchase of experiences as opposed to possessions, and these are the best of times for live music.
That July 3-5 Dead run in Chicago generated the biggest Boxscore of the year, with an eye-popping gross of $30.6 million and aggregate attendance of 210,283. Those shows, along with the previous weekend’s take at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., brought the total Fare Thee Well take to $52 million, a reunion that illustrates the vibrant power of community that has driven the concert industry since its inception, and has now re-invigorated it into an estimated $20 billion global juggernaut in the digital age.