Can the Concert Industry Survive After Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen and Madonna Retire?

This critical mass of such "legacy acts" might push 2013's totals beyond 2012's record sales numbers, estimated at $4.7 billion. That figure was boosted by sold-out tours from very familiar faces, with the three top-grossing performers -- Madonna, Roger Waters and Springsteen -- all card-carrying members of the Rock Hall and long since qualified for AARP membership as well. In fact, six of the top 10 touring acts in 2012 were age 54 or older, and they took in 67 percent of the box office among the industry's leaders.
But here's the rub. While North American grosses hit an all-time high in 2012, fewer seats were filled. The total number of tickets purchased by concertgoers -- 36.7 million -- was down 9 percent from the industry's banner year of 2009. So what's at work here? You guessed it: Ticket prices are reaching new heights, thanks largely to legacy acts, whose average ticket cost more than $100 in 2012. Paul McCartney, Van Halen, Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, Waters and Madonna were in this company last year, headed by The Rolling Stones, whose stupefying average ticket price exceeded $500 (a back-of-the-house, obstructed-view seat at Brooklyn's Barclays Center fetched $176).
Great analysis about the future of the concert industryCollapse )