IKE BETTORS LINED up at the $ 2 window, you can never find a concert promoter who doesn’t believe the coming season will be great. But like those houndstooth-hat pundits, promoters too often find themselves cursing the fates when the results come in.
So far, the 1993 concert season has been a good day at the track, if several industry sources can be believed.
“Everybody’s doing pretty good business,” says one industry source familiar with the national scene. However, “The real verdict won’t be in until July 4,” the magic date when most of the summer shows will have had tickets on sale long enough to separate the hits from the misses.
Slowly recovering from several years of slumping sales, concert sources report amphitheater business up, perhaps attributable to the lack of stadium traffic outside of the Grateful Dead and the occasional Paul McCartney stop.
Success stories so far: Peter Gabriel has been doing strong business. Although Gabriel isn’t doing multiple dates, he’s averaging 12,000-14,000 seats sold several weeks from his dates. Yanni is packing them in, while the Spin Doctors are doing well in some markets (18,000 seats average), spotty in others. Van Halen and Kenny G are doing well, as are the Grateful Dead-Sting stadium package. Promoters are also reportedly holding out lots of hope for a solid performance by Rod Stewart.
In country music, Billy Ray Cyrus “continues to sell lot of tickets,” according to another industry source, who adds, “Clint (Black) and Wynonna are doing decent business.”
On the downbeat: Poison is “a disaster,” says one source, averaging 2,000 seats on its current Midwest swing. Tina Turner’s new tour is “soft,” although many industryites expected that. The tour may also benefit from the strong reviews given the just-opened Turner biopic “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” Aerosmith’s sales are soft in some markets, despite the boost from Megadeth and Jackyl in certain markets.
The Festival New Orleans tour, which takes the concept of the annual Jazz & Heritage Festival on the road, is struggling with a marketing dilemma: Is it a rock show or a family show? The ticket prices are generally low for the show, but promoters are hoping for high per-capita spending. The tour starts at the end of this month, but promoters are holding their breath.
Kansas and Eddie Money have not generated strong box office, but fellow ’70s rockers the Allman Brothers and Steve Miller have been building off of solid fan bases.
The big questions for the promoters: Will the Steely Dan, Bette Midler and Whitney Houston tours sell? The evidence is conflicting. Likewise, the 1993 edition of the Lollapalooza Tour appears soft in some markets, but will likely gain momentum when the show hits the road June 18.
LEVINE/SCHNEIDER public relations will celebrate 10 years in the business Wednesday with a gala party at Tommy Tang’s. One of the premiere praiseries for music, the firm boasts such clients as Janet Jackson on its current roster.
Partner Mitch Schneider, the self-described “media arsonist” who runs the music division, says his favorite campaign of the last decade involved guitarist Ted Nugent’s attempt to buy Muzak.
“I had read that Muzak was going up for sale in the USA Today business section, so I called Ted Nugent and said, “Why not make an offer to buy it? You could destroy it.” He made an offer for $ 40 million, which they rejected because they were looking for $ 70 million and upwards. We issued a release saying he had offered and it even got discussed on ‘The Today Show.’ The people who eventually bought Muzak wanted him to come to the press conference. The amount of clippings that generated — it was almost like we were tampering with an American icon.”
RUMBLINGS: Producer Andre Fisher should be named head of MCA Music Entertainment Group’s black music A&R department any minute now. Fischer, best known for his work with former wife Natalie Cole, replaces Louil Silas, who now runs his own MCA label, Silas Records. … Geffen denies that A&R superstar John Kalodner is about to dance with Sony Music. “He still has two years on his contract,” says a spokeswoman. …
The rumors on Arista/Nashville chief Tim DuBois continue to fly: One minute he has a done deal with Sony Nashville, the next there’s an 11th-hour offer on the table from Bertelsmann Music Group, the parent of Arista. … Rob & Fab have officially broken up, according to a source familiar with the ex-Milli Vanillis.