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Concerts take a hit in 2010

Combined grosses down 17% from last year

Combined grosses for the top 100 tours in North America this year is down 17% from the same period last year, to $965.5 million from $1.16 billion in 2009, according to a mid year report by Pollstar.

In terms of grosses and number of tickets sold, the numbers are the lowest since 2005.

Pollstar’s 2010 Mid Year Business Analysis report released Friday cites the “economic malaise” in the U.S. as a key factor in the downturn, with larger, stadium-scaled shows being more adversely affected than “the more affordable club-level acts.”

Total tickets sold by the top 100 tours was 15.9 million, down 12% from the same period in 2009, while average grosses fell to about $422,000, about a 14% drop per show.

International grosses, however, are on a par with last year’s, with business in Europe, South America and Australia exhibiting comparative resilience.

The report cited the Coachella fest as the top-grossing U.S. show of the year to date, with 225,000 attendees paying more than $21.7 million for the three-day event. In terms of U.S. venues, New York’s Madison Square Garden scored the most events in the top 100 with eight, while the Hollywood Bowl and Staples Center tied for second place with four apiece.

Of the top 100 North American tours, Bon Jovi topped the list with almost $53 million, spread out over 28 cites and 38 shows. The James Taylor/Carole King tour followed with $41 million, Taylor Swift with $34 million, Paul McCartney with 31.6 million, and George Strait/Reba McEntire/Lee Ann Womack with $29.8 million.

Of the top 50 worldwide tours, heavy metal figured prominently, with AC/DC topping the poll at $177.5 million and Metallica placing third at almost $61 million. Bon Jovi was second with total grosses of $75.7 million. Taylor/King also played well abroad, finishing in fourth place with almost $54 million. The Black Eyed Peas rounded out the top five with $48.4 million.

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