U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
This is the biggest show in the chart, number one, above three Paul McCartney dates. Why? MORGAN WALLEN! In order to do that business in rock, you’d have to have two classic acts, or acts that made their bones over twenty years ago.
As for McCartney, he played smaller buildings. He too went clean. But the top and lower prices were actually a few dollar less than Church’s. This is not a diss of McCartney, this just illustrates how powerful country can be. Eric Church has been building his outsider status for over a decade, and he’s definitely selling rock. And Morgan Wallen has the biggest album of the past two years…
Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
CAMPING WORLD STADIUM? This has turned into a joke, no building maintains the same moniker, ultimately undercutting what credibility, status they’ve got. Sure, people will go anywhere to see a hot show, but that does not mean they’ll feel good about the building. Everything in America is sold out. The money may not have trickled down, but the philosophy sure has. People put the money first, as do the acts. And that means you can’t trust or believe in either. As for naming rights…how long is Staples gonna be Crypto.com? I’m sure there are all kinds of guarantees in the contract, but if the company goes out of business…
As for Mr. McCartney… People are now realizing that you’ve got to see the dinosaurs now, or they may forever be gone. That’s the Charlie Watts effect. All the hosannas about Taylor Hawkins, but he was all doped up, taking his own life, albeit by accident, whereas Charlie was clean and the Big C got him. Hawkins was a very good drummer, but Watts underpinned rock and roll. And if Charlie can go…so can you.
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
The Jimmy Buffett of his day, and not only musically. Kenny comes around almost every year, it’s a ritual to go to the show, doesn’t matter if he’s had recent hits or not. He’s got enough hits, but he also promises a show, with new, impressive production every year. Sure, he had Dan + Shay, Old Dominion and Carly Pearce in support, but that was just making a day of it. Chesney could sell out stadiums all by himself. It’s doubtful that Eric Church could sell that many tickets all by his lonesome.
MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV
Charge what the tickets are worth, that’s how you beat scalpers. The Eagles are forever, at least as long as Don Henley wants to do it. Did you see that Kidd Creole was listening to “Take It Easy” when he encountered that guy he killed? Yes, you should read the story, also to see how fame doesn’t mean you’re rich, Creole even worked as a security guard: https://nyti.ms/3OltdCI
5/15-17/22 (3 shows)
Movistar Arena, Santiago, Chile
So he only did 97% at one gig in South America… No, he went clean in Lima on 6/1/22 and grossed $1,022,367!
Tomlinson could not sell anywhere near this number of tickets in the U.S. Which used to mean he would sell fewer tickets in South America. But, the U.S. is behind in more ways than politically and economically. The U.K. does a better job of spreading their acts worldwide. And pop and rock travel better than hip-hop, which is where all the focus is in the U.S.
Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls, SD
Snoop Dogg is a legend, around for 30 years already. To do these numbers in South Dakota is amazing. It’s very hard to sell out in these Northern Plain states. Interestingly, the opener was Koe Wetzel, an edgy country rocker who most hip-hop fans have probably never heard of, you’ve probably never heard of, but he’s got streams of 40 and 50 million on Spotify. And you wonder why you’re not rich and famous on your million…
“NASHVILLE COMEDY FESTIVAL”/BILL BURR
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
Let’s forget the 1% unsold. Just imagine how bad those seats are, in the rafters…FOR A COMEDY SHOW! These barns all have bad acoustics, I’m stunned people will sit so far back to listen to people talk. But they will, that’s just how hot comedy is.
Pine Knob Music Theatre, Clarkson, MI
Halsey seems to have superseded the here today, gone tomorrow stamp that so many of the Spotify Top 50 wear. She’s seen as more of an artist than a hitmaker, to her advantage. As for not going clean, at these outdoor shows there are endless lawns, far away, this is a very impressive number. And she racked up similar grosses in Toronto, Cuyahoga Falls and the Woodlands in Texas.
Addition Financial Arena, Orlando, FL
This guy was seen as white bread and harmless, and in his act he reinforced, in a humorous way, that he was not gay. Then he went to rehab, dumped his wife and had a baby with Olivia Munn and you wonder who really is this guy? Not an edgy comic. But perceived to be one of the funniest out there.
This is a huge number. Used to be comics could sell out theatres at best, with superstars playing a gig at Madison Square Garden. But in truth, comedy is hotter than music. Because in the era of sold-out cancel culture they’re the only people speaking truth (well, there are the Simpsons and other animated characters too). Everybody else is fearful of pissing somebody off, jeopardizing their career. But that’s the comedian’s act! People want to laugh and get a jolt of the truth. Do not underestimate comedy. Rather than becoming a musician, you’re better off becoming a comedian. You can buy your beats, create a hit and be back in your bedroom within a year. It’s a lot harder to make it in comedy, you have to pay your dues, hone your craft, but once you break through you can tell jokes FOREVER!
State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
45? In ATLANTA?
If you read the press, you’d think that DaBaby was one of the biggest acts of last year, if not the biggest! He’s got two tracks with over a billion, significantly over a billion, streams on Spotify. Too much too soon? People didn’t used to play arenas so early in their career. And are people wary of laying down their hard-earned cash for something that has such a brief time in the public eye?
Of course, this makes one wonder what else in the Spotify Top 50 can’t sell tickets. And if you think the act will have any sort of career, maybe you should play theatres first, where hopefully the demand will be overwhelming, generating heat for the act.
Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI
Katt is a known quantity, but he did these numbers BEFORE his new special “World War III” dropped on Netflix. Sure, there were supporting comics, but none with his firepower, nothing close. Katt sold these tickets.
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
Arguably he’s leaving money on the table. He’s investing in his career by not charging the three digit prices of all the other acts. This does result in scalpers controlling the great seats and earning the lift, but the low prices do add to Gaffigan’s everyman persona. As for the high prices paid to scalpers… People LOVE PAYING THEM! Talk to anybody who’s paid way over face value for their seats. They love that they didn’t have to buy their tickets a year in advance and they know otherwise there’d be no way they could get these seats. So, you can either pay the act or the scalper, but don’t expect to sit in the front row for under a hundred dollars, the tickets are worth much more to fans!
As for Gaffigan himself. He’s seen as a safe, family comic. Although not THAT safe. But this guy does this kind of business everywhere.
Now think about that gross…
He’s got to pay his agent. But I’m sure he’s paying less than 10%, he should be. And he’s paying his manager, which can’t be more than 15% and should be less. But, for the sake of argument, let’s round off the numbers and take 25% out of 400k. That leaves Gaffigan with 300k! Oh, he’s got costs… He owns his own microphone probably. And he probably pays a road manager he doesn’t need, just to have company. And he stays in thousand dollar a night hotel rooms. But does the promoter pick that up? And then there’s transportation… Well, if he flies, I’m sure he goes private. And let’s just say he does a one-off, leaves New York and then comes back. Let’s put the jet at a relatively high price of 50k to go back and forth to Nashville. That still leaves him with 250k net! Of course, we’re talking gross numbers here, but someone like Gaffigan… He probably has a 90/10 deal. Or something close. And I rounded it off to 400k anyway. The buildings want him inside. To sell parking, food and merch. They’re dying to put acts like Gaffigan in their buildings. A guaranteed seller??!!
Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, PA
The MACHINE! I hadn’t even heard of this guy until last week and he can sell this many tickets? Would we see this amount of fervor for most of the acts in the Spotify Top 50? NO!
White House Music Hall-lawn, Houston, TX
My e-mail has been blowing up with this band in the last month or so. They’ve been around since 2007, but they’re not on a major label and they’ve never had anything close to a hit. Granted, this is Texas, acts sell tickets in Texas that can’t get arrested elsewhere. But the Red Dirt sound could easily spread with the right commitment. It’s like taking country to the U.K., you’ve got to invest, show people what they’re missing. And this can’t be done via a major label, Universal tried with Pat Green, this has got nothing to do with hits, it’s a slow and steady build that pays dividends forever. This is the new music business. The Spotify Top 50, that hit business, THAT’S THE SIDESHOW!
Having said that, the Turnpike Troubadours’ top ten tracks on Spotify all have double digit million streams. One even has 38 million. So, it’s not just about live. But also know you can have this many streams and still be unknown to most.
Carnegie Hall, NY, NY
I can’t believe Carnegie Hall booked him. Who next, Harvey Weinstein?
This is a bad look. But an incredible number. Until you look and see three days later he only sold 47% of the tickets in a similar-sized hall in Philadelphia, only 1,292 people wanted to see him there.
My problem with Ryan Adams is he never apologized, he never owned his behavior. America loves to redeem its stars, as long as you give us a chance. Then again, in the wake of #MeToo, every infraction is seen as equal, whether it be by LouisCK or Aziz Ansari. CK went back on the road, I don’t think he should have been banned forever. As for Ansari, I’m not sure I get it. He blinked more than CK, but he just got married and…
Mitsubishi Electric Halle, Dusseldorf, Germany
50% is a bad look, then again I don’t know this hall. Seems like a bad choice, he should have played somewhere smaller but the fact that Sam Fender can sell 3,600 in Dusseldorf, never mind Berlin, is pretty impressive. Fender has the goods, and he’s definitely a rocker. He couldn’t do anywhere near these numbers in the U.S., but why even try? Top 40 radio won’t play his tracks, he sounds nothing like what’s in the Spotify Top 50, he’s better off going where his music is embraced.
Kingsbury Hall, Salt Lake City, UT
Handler does this business everywhere. And she’s been off late night TV for years! Once again, this is the power of comedy. And for those who still think Salt Lake City is backward…you haven’t been there!
5/20/22 (2 shows)
The Wilbur, Boston, MA
Another comedian. And unlike in rock, women in comedy are equal to the men, many make bank, the audience loves you as long as you’re funny.
College Street Music Hall, New Haven, CT
A jam band, and not the most highly respected either, at least not by the older generation still going to see Phish and DMB, but the kids need their music too. The last album they had came out in 2018, and it was a live one. The band’s success is not about hit records, it’s not about airplay, it’s about live shows, delivering an experience, that is different every night. They’re throwing a party, the pop arena acts are giving a performance, and there’s a huge difference between the two. See the hit act extravaganza and…you don’t need to see it again, unless they’ve got another hit or two, and chances are they won’t. Whereas Twiddle is a night out, you can own it.
So the lesson is not to shoot for the stars, but the road. And know that traditional success, being on the cover of magazines and all over the radio… Many magazines have gone out of business and all of their readership is down. Believe me, the target audience for Twiddle is not listening to terrestrial radio. So, if you’re good enough, have good enough songs, you’ll eventually get bigger and bigger. Otherwise, you can continue to do it as a job, making a living, until you get burned out. This is the old pre-recording paradigm, and it’s back. You’re in control of your own destiny, it’s only you and your fans. No one telling you what to do. But it’s your responsibility to bring people to the gig, not the label’s, not the media’s, your music is your sales tool, and it either resonates or it doesn’t. Live is where the rubber meets the road, literally, but this is where your excuses evaporate. If you can get gigs and continue to build no traction, you’re either far ahead of the audience or not good enough.
It’s incumbent upon you to stick it out, you can complain all you want, but no one is listening. And some of the most talented have given up, talent is at most 50% of making it, most of making it is desire and perseverance. It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll. And it seems live people would rather hear something closer to rock and roll than what’s in the Spotify Top 50.