Musical acts face tough summer

Fans just aren't buying concert tickets this season, causing tours to be cut short or canceled.

By Kim Peterson Jul 12, 2010 2:16PM

John Mayer.  (© Kiichiro Sato/AP)It's not the best summer for touring rock stars.

The 2010 summer concert season is one of the worst in a decade. People aren't buying tickets, stadiums are going unfilled, and shows are being canceled.

Artists who would normally draw fans, including Christina Aguilera, the Eagles, John Mayer and Rihanna, have canceled shows or entire tours, Billboard reports. And that spells trouble for companies like concert promoter Live Nation (LYV), which merged with Ticketmaster in January.

There are several reasons for the drought:

High ticket prices. We all knew which direction ticket prices were heading after Live Nation merged with Ticketmaster to become the dominant force in concert management. Critics say Live Nation pays artists high guarantees and passes the cost to concertgoers, Billboard reports.


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Also, Live Nation is kinda clueless about setting prices. It books tours out of its West Coast offices, without much local input, writes Ray Waddell. "An act that's worth $250,000 in Boston may be worth only $50,000 in Cleveland, which should be reflected in local ticket prices."

Time to hang it up. Audiences may simply be tired of some artists who have spent years touring without a new song or album out, Waddell writes.

The economy. Business is down in other segments of the entertainment industry, and it makes sense that live musical acts would take a hit as well.

Too many acts. Most musical tours take place when it's warm outside. That has created a traffic jam of sorts, making it hard for musicians to get enough promotion and advertising to bring out fans.
Fans are angry. Years of high ticket fees have burned out consumers, Billboard reports. People are getting fed up.

Some musical acts are doing just fine this summer. Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift are selling out across the country.

But Live Nation had to cut eight dates from the "American Idol" tour, Advertising Age reported. Fan response to Limp Bizkit, the Jonas Brothers and Lilith Fair has also been disappointing. One concert industry watcher estimates that ticket purchases are down 15% this year.

Live Nation, which has seen its share price drop 30% since April, has begun cutting ticket fees in hopes of drawing more concertgoers, Ad Age reports. But that might be causing more problems, as people wait until the last minute to see what kind of deals they can get.
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