Plummeting CD sales have Big Music scrambling to sign “360” deals with artists, so they can get a piece of revenue streams like merchandise sales and concert tickets. But the concert business itself isn’t a picture of health: A low-margin affair to begin with, the U.S. concert business shrank 10.2% this year, to $2.6 billion, and attendance was down 19.2%, to 51 million, says Billboard.
Billboard points out that the numbers are down this year because many concert superstars — The Rolling Stones, U2, Madonna, etc — didn’t tour the U.S. this year. But even if they had, the industry’s dependence on giant, ageing acts doesn’t bode well for the 360 cure-all: The groups that do make money on tour have no interest in giving the labels a cut (unless they give them truckloads of cash first). And the few acts that do sell music today don’t do well on the road.
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