Michael Cohl

Architect of the global tour; promoter of five of the top 10 tours of all time

When Michael Cohl first uttered the phrase “global tour,” regional promoters around the country blanched. The concept meant Cohl would deal directly with the acts and the venues, circumventing artist’s agents and promoters. As a result, acts such as U2, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd earned millions, as did Cohl. And the paydays continue for tours under Cohl’s aegis: During the first six months of 2006, the Rolling Stones’ Big Bang Tour topped $52.5 million; U2 grossed $15 million. Although the consolidation of the industry into a handful of firms has worried other promoters, it has not diminished Cohl’s clout. Live Nation, the world’s largest promoter, bought in May a controlling interest in Cohl’s firm. “I believe in their approach,” says Cohl, the subject of a doc by “Last Mogul” director Barry Avrich, who landed a rare on-camera interview with the notoriously press-shy promoter for the project. “He’s the most famous man you’ve never heard of,” Avrich says.

P.O.V.: “You can’t sit still and embrace the status quo.”

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