Marketing / 04.16.18
Legendary Performers Bid Farewell to Fans, Hello to Big Concert Sales
The music world has seen a rather unprecedented rash of announced retirements this year. Some of the most legendary performers of all time have declared they are giving up the road for reasons ranging from health and age to family and a desire to “just take it easy” from now on.
Many stars are stretching out their final goodbye to the world’s stadiums and arenas in one, last, big, blow-out tour. Of course, farewell tours always mean the potential for big-ticket sales, but recent trends show that how those tours are planned and tickets are offered can make a big difference.
Sir Elton John recently announced a three-year, 300-date “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour, after sharing that he is retiring because his priorities have changed ― he and his husband, David Furnish, have two young sons.
Members of John’s official fan club, the Rocket Club, have the first shot at tickets at each venue. For early dates on his upcoming tour, they can purchase seats more than a week before they go on sale to the general public. Additionally, American Express cardholders will have access to a pre-sale period for tickets, according to Fortune magazine.
Other stars have embraced Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan tickets, a tool that helps artists get tickets directly into the hands of fans. Because fans must register before they purchase tickets and identify themselves as the buyer, it has been successful in preventing scalping bots from buying up tickets in large blocks. With more than 3 million fan registrations to date, Ticketmaster claims an average success rate of 90 percent in keeping tickets off secondary markets.
Perhaps most important, artists embarking on farewell tours need to anticipate ticket demand ahead of time and book their venues accordingly. The heavy-metal group Slayer is now on their last tour, which is hitting mostly large venues such as the 17,000-seat PNC Arts Center in New Jersey. However, when booking a space in Dallas, The Bomb Factory was the choice, and it only has capacity for 4,300 people. Given the size of the club, tickets sold out within minutes and scalpers have been commanding as much as $3,000 per ticket. Needless to say, Slayer’s hard-core fans in the area have voiced their outrage.
Fan outrage might be exacerbated by the fact that some have called into question the sincerity of these artists’ declarations that they are truly done with the touring life. So many times in the past, soloists and groups have announced, “This is our final tour,” only to renege years later and reunite for what many perceive as one more cash grab. Judas Priest famously announced back in 2010 they were done touring and would focus only on new music, but the concerts have continued. So, too, have live performances by Cher after her “farewell tour” in 2002.
Recently, Aretha Franklin and Joan Baez have somewhat validated these fans’ suspicions. Franklin has declared 2018 to be her last year of concerts, with a final performance set for June 2 in Boston. However, she is opening a nightclub in Detroit and has not ruled out performing live there “if the mood strikes.” Baez, who has announced she is capping her career with a “Fare Thee Well” tour, has qualified her final farewell assertions, stating in interviews that 2018 will be her last year of “formal extended touring.” She said to Rolling Stone, “I just don’t want to do the six-weeks-on-the-bus thing anymore.”
John, however, is adamant. He recently swore to Rolling Stone that his farewell tour is absolutely not a marketing ploy to drum up ticket sales. “I’m not Cher,” he said, “even though I like wearing her clothes. This is the end.”
Paul Simon has even gone so far as to use his official website to communicate his determination. In announcing his last tour, “Homeward Bound − The Farewell,” he wrote to fans, “I feel the travel and time away from my wife and family takes a toll that detracts from the joy of playing.”
Let’s hope the way tickets are selling for these farewell tours can help boost Simon’s spirits while playing his final round.
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Tags: Music , Ticketmaster , News , Digital Marketing