"Thank you for the Sphere" - Bono

Issue #172 | October 3, 2023James Dolan’s dreams have seemingly come true with the opening of the Sphere over the weekend. Fans - and Wall Street - agree it lives up to the hype (Sphere Entertainment shares were up over 11% at close on Monday). Achtung baby!

Credit: Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesLive Nation drops merch feesLive Nation announced that it is dropping all merch fees (typically 15-30%) at its 77 club-size venues in the US as part of a new developing-artist program, “On the Road Again,” in partnership with Willie Nelson. The program will also offer $1,500 stipends per show to all headlining and support acts through the end of 2023. Additionally, the program will donate $5 million to Crew Nation and offer bonuses to local promoters, tour reps, and venue crew members that have worked >500 hours in 2023.

NIVA claps back 👏No merch fees, gas stipends, and bonuses sound great, but not to NIVA. The National Independent Venue Association released a statement following Live Nation’s announcement, indicating that this temporary (through the end of 2023) move is a further effort to squeeze out independent venues. NIVA believes the move is, “a calculated attempt to use a publicly-traded conglomerate’s immeasurable resources to divert artists from independent venues and further consolidate control over the live entertainment sector. Such tactics threaten the vitality of small and medium-sized venues … many of which still struggle to keep their doors open.”

Beyoncé's next big moveBeyoncé is taking a page out of Taylor Swift’s book - no, not by taking over the NFL, (she’s already done that). This time, Beyonce is said to be in late stage discussions with AMC about releasing a concert film based on her mega-hit “Renaissance World Tour”.  The film, which is still cloaked in a level of secrecy that we’ve come to expect from Queen Bey, is anticipated to drop on December 1.

AEG enters into strategic global partnership with LA TourismAEG and the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board have unveiled a pioneering global strategic partnership, promoting LA as a premier entertainment destination by leveraging AEG's extensive network of venues, events, and artists. It aims to boost tourism, showcasing Los Angeles as a vibrant and diverse city, while also enhancing the city's global appeal as a cultural and entertainment hub. The partnership focuses on the U.S., as well as Australia, Canada, and the U.K., including as an official partner and the “Preferred Destination in America” of The O2 Arena in London.   

Who run the world?Girls, according to StubHub. The ticketing platform says that 57% of their global concert ticket sales this summer were for shows by top female artists, led by - no surprise here - Taylor Swift and Beyoncé. Not only are female artists in higher demand, they also command higher ticket prices, with their average top ticket price at $660, versus $245 for top male artists. 

Vivendi: PARTS FOR SALEVivendi is looking for a buyer for See Tickets and its festival operations businesses. While See Tickets sold 39 million tickets last year in the US and 12 European markets, up 56% from 25 million sold in 2019 (pre-pandemic), “Vivendi does not believe those businesses have sufficient scale to be able to compete with industry giants such as Live Nation, Ticketmaster and AEG.” Vivendi purchased See Tickets for €96m in September 2011.

Live Nation Middle East opens doors for Arabic talentLive Nation Middle East is expanding its international touring opportunities for Arabic talent, led by new hire Amin T. Kabbani. The company aims to support and promote Arabic artists on a global scale, offering them a platform to reach wider audiences beyond the Middle East. This expansion reflects the growing global interest in Arabic music and culture and signifies Live Nation's commitment to nurturing and showcasing talent from the region on an international stage.  

On Location adds "Ooh La La" to Paris GamesAs the exclusive ticket-inclusive travel and hospitality experience partner of the 2024 Paris Olympics, On Location has announced several new packages for the upcoming games. Fans can watch sailing events on the water for the first time ever, with a fleet of private boats and experts to provide commentary. They are also offering packages that include the opportunity to eat dinner inside the Eiffel Tower along with french musicians, celebrity and athlete appearances, and guided champagne tastings.  

BOSS and SWIFT Act progressAfter a quiet summer, three US Senators introduced the BOSS and SWIFT Acts in the Senate last week, finally progressing the ticketing reform acts that were spurred on by Taylor Swift’s Ticketmaster debacle. Quick refresher: these acts require sellers to disclose the total cost of tickets up front, clearly disclose refund policies, announce total number of available tickets and cost 7 days ahead of the on-sale, and prevent sellers from changing the ticket price without alerting buyers.   

Exploring trends of bad fan behaviorThis year has seen an uptick of show-stopping bad behavior from fans at live shows, with more and more throwing objects at - and often hitting - performers on stage. One suggested reason is the potential for such outbursts to go viral. Another is possibly the idea that fans believe they are “connected” to artists due to social media and therefore have a “false belief that they have a right to act out as they see fit.” Similar outbursts have been happening in sports for years, and despite additional security, still occur.

  THE Conference: Live at Lititz is looking for an Event Production Assistant to support the team producing the live event industry conference December 4 - 8, as well as some advance work.     Under Armour is hiring a Lead, Global External Events (hybrid) in Baltimore, MD to lead the management and execution of Brand and experiential events. Salary $88,606.00 - $121,832.70.      C3 Presents is looking for a Digital Guest Experience Associate Manager to be the ultimate guide and first impression that patrons will interact with daily in Austin, TX.  Superfly is hiring a Vice President, Business Development & Partnerships to drive revenue, identify new opportunities, and enhance industry leadership in New York, NY. Salary $175,000 - $225,000.  

Have you experienced show-stopping bad behavior at a show?

Last Week's Results:

34% of BOH readers think grab-and-go concessions will make its way to festival grounds in the next 1-2 years.

Lineups, Festival & Tour Announcements

  • Aerosmith’s “PEACE OUT” Tour has been postponed to sometime next year due to Steven Tyler's fractured larynx. 

  • Bruce Springsteen also announced that the remainder of his 2023 tour dates have been postponed due to ongoing concerns from his doctor over his peptic ulcer. 

  • The Christmas Queen is going on tour! Mariah Carey announced dates for her “Merry Christmas One And All! Tour” starting November 15 in Highland, CA and ending December 17 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

  • Black Keys and Jelly Roll will headline Riptide Music Festival, December 2 - 3 in Fort Lauderdale Beach, FL. 

  • Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros will play a five-night residency at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY in December. 

  • Noah Kahan’s “We’ll All Be Here Forever Tour” will kick off in Dublin, Ireland in February, go across Europe before making its way through Canada, and finally the US, ending at Fenway Park in Boston, MA in July.

  • Journey has announced a 50th Anniversary “Freedom Tour” starting February 9 in Biloxi, MO and ending April 29 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Toto will support.

  • Foo Fighters have announced “The Everything or Nothing at All Tour” across North America, their first major tour without Taylor Hawkins. The tour will start at Citi Field in Queens, NY in July and wrap at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Washington in August.

"Jim Dolan, thank you for the Sphere, you’re one mad bastard, one mad bastard.” - Bono

James Dolan’s dream was realized last weekend with the much-anticipated opening of the Sphere in Las Vegas by the incomparable U2 to kick off their run of 25 U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere shows. The $2.3 billion venue’s opening was delayed by 2 years, but the technology inside (and outside) was beyond anyone’s wildest dreams: the highest resolution screen on earth (16k x 16k) with more than half a million square feet of programmable video screens and thousands of speakers delivering a “crystal-clear”, multi-layered experience, inside the largest spherical structure in the world (336 feet tall x 516 feet wide).

While photos and videos don’t do it justice, here are a few: Brooklyn Vegan, Just Jared, The Verge.

If you’re in Vegas and can’t catch a U2 show, you can still check out the venue with The Sphere Experience: Postcards from Earth.

 Music Tectonics Conference, October 24 - 26 in Santa Monica, CA. This year’s conference sessions explore current and emerging trends in the music business with the help of speakers who are top innovators in their fields.


Reminder for those in the US, if you sold tickets online this year, you now have to pay taxes on all gross transaction values that exceed $600 as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. More to come in our annual tax issue with Miguel in early 2024.


Scientists say that Disney theme park addition is real and can be attributed to “a yearning for travel, the sensory delight of familiar scents, a desire for influence and the fulfillment of nostalgia.”


Latin Music continues to rise in the US, generating $627 million in gross revenues, up 14.8% YOY.

 The new vinyl is … recycled plastic? Sonospress is making a new vinyl record made of PET plastic.

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