Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Muse. The future of the stadium-level concerts business is in good hands, reckons Arthur Fogel, Live Nation’s chairman of global music and CEO of global touring.
Fogel should know. The veteran promoter is a pioneer of the multi-billion-dollar global touring network which today’s top-shelf artists regularly traverse.
Speaking with Billboard last week at the Live Nation Partner Summit in Brisbane, Fogel was confident the next-generation was ready for the big stage when the older A-league superstars call time on touring.
“I think it’s happened. It’s like when you invest in the stock market, you’ve just got to hang in there. Play it long. Ultimately it’ll pay off,” he said.
Fogel, who has guided mega-tours for the likes of the Rolling Stones, Madonna, The Police and many others, said artist development was the key to success. “Over the past 10 years,” he continued, “there’s been a huge explosion of new artists, many of whom have picked up the business. As those legendary acts do stop touring, the business will be just fine. There is no bottom falling out.”
The latest-leg of the Joshua Tree Tour will see U2 visit Japan for the first time in 14 years. And their shows in India and south-east Asia will be the Dubliners’ first in a 40-year-plus career.
As more territories mature and plug into the touring marketplace, the live business should continue to flourish, Fogel enthused.
“When I started the global tours on that 1989 Rolling Stones (Steel Wheels) tour, there were maybe 18-20 countries in terms of an itinerary for a tour. Now there are 60-plus. You look at Latin America, eastern Europe, Middle East, South Africa, south east Asia. It’s a real place to do shows, to do business.”
Asia remains one of the most logistically challenging regions for staging large-scale tours, though artists do need to get going and “properly touch all regions of the world,” he continued. “It’s very easy for people to move on and forget about you if you don’t show them love. That was one of the reasons why it was important to get down here at this time. But it is challenging, there’s no question.”
The Joshua Tree Tour rolls on to the Sydney Cricket Ground this Friday and Saturday nights.