The Irish rock band U2 generated the highest worldwide touring revenue [pdf] of any musical performer during the first half of 2011, according to analysis from Pollstar. U2 grossed $164 million USD touring between January 1 and June 30, 2011.
Waters, Bon Jovi Approach $100M
No other musical performer grossed $100 million or more touring in the first half of 2011. However, number two performer Roger Waters ($97.9 million) and number three act Bon Jovi ($92.1 million) came fairly close to the triple-digit mark. There is then a steep drop between Bon Jovi’s worldwide touring gross and that of number four performer Lady Gaga ($65.3 million).
Time is On Their Side
Six of the top 10-grossing live performers, including the top three, released their first albums in the 1980s or earlier. This includes three 1980s veterans: U2, Bon Jovi and Kylie Minogue, as well as two 1970s survivors (Elton John and Andre Rieu) and a child of the 1960s (Roger Waters, who began his solo career in the 1980s but first came to fame as a founder of 1960s psychedelic legends Pink Floyd).
In addition, two performers launched their careers in the 1990s (Usher and Kenny Chesney) and two relative newcomers got discovered in the past decade (Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift).
Where The Boys Are
Seven of the top 10 performers, including the top three, are either male solo artists or groups composed of men. Only Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue and Taylor Swift add estrogen to the testosterone-heavy mix.
English-speaking Acts Prove Globally Popular
Five of the top 10 acts (Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga, Usher, Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift) are American. Another two (Roger Waters, Elton John) are English, while U2 are Irish and Kylie Minogue is Australian. That leaves Netherlands native (and classical violinist) Andre Rieu as the only non-native-English-speaking performer on the list.
Variety of Musical Genres Represented
While the top three performers and Elton John can all be characterized as “classic rock,” there is a variety of musical genres represented on the list. Lady Gaga, Usher and Kylie Minogue are pop/R&B performers, Kenny Chesney and Taylor Swift are country musicians, and Andre Rieu performs classical music.
N. American Concerts Rebound at Mid-Year
The North American concert industry is experiencing a rebound in mid-2011 compared to mid-2010, according to other analysis of the January-June period by Pollstar. The top 100 North American concert tours grossed a total of $1.12 billion in the first half of this year, up about 16% from $965.5 million in mid-2010.
However, this figure is down about 3% from $1.16 billion in 2009, which had the highest mid-year gross of any year since 2004.