Concert business rebounds despite higher ticket prices

LOS ANGELES — The record industry isn't the only segment of the music business that appears to be on the rebound. After a difficult 2010, the concert industry too, is showing total revenue from the top 50 tours worldwide is up more than 11 percent for the first half of 2011.

Pollstar, the concert-industry tracking publication, said the totals from those 50 tours added up to $1.65 billion. That's despite a 2.1 percent drop in the number of tickets sold — 19.4 million — meaning the bump in the total box office came as the result of higher ticket prices on average.

The increase in the cost of concert attendance "was not expected coming off a down year," said Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni.

Ticket prices increased by an average of 13.6 percent, or $10.23, worldwide, Pollstar reported.

The news comes on the heels of Wednesday's midyear report on recorded music sales, which also showed an increase over the same period last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Leading the pack on the concert trail is U2, with a six-month total gross of $164 million on the latest leg of its 360 Tour, which has become the highest-grossing tour of all time. With an average ticket price of $97.65 in stadiums where attendance averaged more than 104,000 people per show, U2 took in $10.25 million per night.

Behind U2 is former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, who has pulled in $97.9 million with an average ticket price of $112.99, followed by Bon Jovi ($92.1 million, $96.26 ticket average), Lady Gaga ($65.3 million, $96.77 tickets) and Usher ($62.2 million, $83.28 tickets).