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Concert biz grows 1.2% in first half

Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson show tops North American grosses

In its midyear wrap-up of the live music biz, concert tracker Pollstar said North American touring grosses were up 1.2% to $1.12 billion in the first six months of the year.

Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson show “The Immortal” was the top North American attraction with a gross of $78.5 million; Roger Waters was tops internationally with $158.1 million ($61.9 million of that in North America, good for No. 2 here).

Total tickets sold by the top 100 North American tours hit a record 18.6 million ducats — a 1.9 million ticket (11.3%) increase over the 16.7 million sold by midyear in 2011.

On the festival side, Pollstar said the $47.3 million gross for 2012’s Coachella festival represented the largest ever reported for a concert event.

Rounding out the list of the top 10 North American treks was Van Halen (with a gross of $44.9 million), Kenny Chesney ($33.9 million), Lady Antebellum ($30.9 million), Drake ($30.2 millon), Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band ($30 million), Elton John ($38 million), the Dave Matthews Band ($24.4 million) and Radiohead ($22.8 million).

Following Waters on the international side were Springsteen ($79.9 million), Cirque du Soleil’s “The Immortal” ($78.5 million), Coldplay ($73.9 million), Lady Gaga ($67.2 million), Van Halen ($44.9 million), Drake ($42.6 million), Madonna ($42.1 million), Paul McCartney ($40.1 million) and Cirque du Soleil’s “Alegria” ($38 million).

Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni said the industry lowered ticket prices and downsized venue to address the economic realities of today’s concert marketplace. Revenues climbed as artists worked more shows.