Pop stars stay put with extended residencies
The Future. Pop superstars are playing more shows in select venues, making the residency (or extended stay or long run) in major cities a modern music trend. While residencies have typically been reserved for prominent artists in the last act of their careers, these artists are instead locking down the most popular venues in the US… which may leave everywhere else free for those not already at the top of the music food chain.
Only the hit cities
NYT reports that some of music’s biggest acts are opting out of hitting the road.
- For the North American leg of his new tour, Harry Styles is playing 42 shows in only five cities, including 15 at The Forum in LA and 15 at Madison Square Garden in NYC.
- This November, Adele will start a 32-show engagement called “Weekends with Adele” at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
- Mexican rock band Maná played 12 dates at The Forum — the only US shows they booked all year.
- BTS, Katy Perry, Miranda Lambert, and several others have decided to play only a limited number of venues this year.
And these longer engagements won’t slow down any time soon. Omar Al-joulani, President of Touring at Live Nation, expects to see another 30 tours in 2023 similar to this trend.
No encore expenses
So, what’s behind the “more shows at fewer venues” trend? (Besides it making a ton of money for legends like Celine Dion, Elton John, and Billy Joel.)
- Cost cutting. Tours are expensive (production, transportation, labor), and the price tag is only going up because of inflation.
- COVID. It’s still a thing, and big artists are nervous that increased travel gives them a higher chance of getting sick… forcing them to cancel shows (which is very expensive).
- Wellbeing. Even pop stars feel burnout, and less time on the road is a major stress-reducer. Look no further than Shawn Mendes’ decision to postpone his current tour.
The irony is that the live-music industry is soaring post-pandemic (or what we’re all saying is “post-pandemic”). Pollstar reports that ticket sales for the top 100 tours in North America hit $1.7 billion in just the first six months of this year (it helps that tickets are more expensive than ever). And to top it off, Live Nation has already sold over 100 million tickets overall this year.
Both of those stats are higher than 2019’s. The pent-up demand is no joke.