U2 & Sphere Dominate Billboard Boxscore’s Midyear Recap as Top 10 Tours Gross a Staggering $1.5B

Concert industry experts generally thought 2024 would be a down year — or at least less busy than 2023, when Taylor Swift and Beyoncé catapulted the sector to new heights and challenged the personnel within it to keep pace amid its explosive growth.

But so far, 2024 hasn’t brought much rest for the weary. The touring business is entering the summer fueled by huge concert grosses that are unprecedented for the midyear mark, according to Billboard Boxscore.

At midyear, grosses for the top 10 entries on the Top Tours chart total a collective $1.5 billion, up a staggering 83% from last year’s figure of $814.9 million. That marks the first time the combined gross of the top 10 tours has crossed $1 billion by the halfway point. Last year, only two tours — Elton John and Harry Styles — had generated more than $100 million at midyear. This year, eight of them have.

Leading the chart period, which spanned from Oct. 1, 2023, to March 30, 2024, is U2, which opened the new Sphere venue in Las Vegas with a residency that grossed $231.6 million from 38 shows during that time. (U2’s full 40-date Sphere run grossed $244.5 million, though the first two shows, which took place Sept. 29 and Sept. 30, occurred just before the chart period began.)

On the strength of her fall North American tour along with February and March dates in Oceania, P!nk ranks second on the midyear tally with $196 million grossed from 42 shows. At No. 3, Madonna logged 67 of her Celebration Tour’s 80 dates during the period and grossed $190.6 million for a No. 3 rank (the trek wrapped in early May). Rounding out the chart’s top 10 are three Latin tours (Luis Miguel; RBD; and Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull and Ricky Martin), three pop and rock acts (Coldplay, Depeche Mode and the Eagles) and Travis Scott, the sole hip-hop artist in the ranking’s upper tier, who brought in $96 million from 44 North American arena shows on his Circus Maximus Tour — marking the rapper’s first outing since the deadly 2021 Astroworld festival.

The big revenue gain for the chart period’s top-earning tours, during what is normally the slower half of the year, is further evidence that — driven largely by international growth in Asia, South America and Australia — the concert business has become an increasingly year-round business.

Leading the Top Promoters midyear chart with $2.8 billion grossed is Live Nation, which has long advocated for steady, incremental international growth. Its main competitor, AEG — No. 2 on Top Promoters with $976.8 million grossed — produced Taylor Swift’s ongoing The Eras Tour through its partnership with Messina Touring Group and has also continued to expand its footprint globally. Swift did not report her The Eras Tour data to Billboard during the chart period, when she played 26 shows across South America, Australia and Asia.


Individual music venues rarely change the entire touring landscape, but few facilities have captured the public’s imagination quite like Las Vegas’ Sphere. With its ground-breaking interior sound and video display — not to mention its light-up, skyline-dominating exterior — the venue has effectively created a new tier of high-end concert experience.

U2’s No. 1 ranking on Top Tours was driven solely by the 38 U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere shows from Oct. 1, 2023, through the residency’s conclusion on March 2, 2024. Those concerts grossed $231.6 million from 630,000 tickets sold, with U2 averaging a $6.1 million gross per show from an average ticket price of $368. While a few megastars have earned more from Vegas residencies, none have ever earned so much from so few shows.

While those in the industry largely view fans’ willingness to increasingly shell out for premium concert experiences as a net positive, some live executives predict that other parts of the sector — festivals, namely — may begin to feel a competitive pinch.

“It’s already getting difficult for festivals to find headliners,” says Wasserman Music agent Sam Hunt, who represents major acts such as Diplo, Run the Jewels and The xx, noting that artists used to make substantially more money headlining festivals than they did headlining arenas. But new ticket-pricing tools have significantly increased what artists can make playing the latter.

That shift in financial posture for the touring business comes amid increasingly frequent festival cancellations, and those woes have extended to the top of the market: This year, Coachella was slow to sell after its initial on-sale and ended up down about 20% in attendance compared with 2023.

Given the choice between festivals and headlining concerts at arenas and stadiums, fans are increasingly choosing the latter. “There is no more comfortable way to enjoy a show than an arena — especially the newer facilities,” says Mark Shulman, senior vp of programming at UBS Arena in Elmont, N.Y., just outside of Queens, which opened in late 2021. “The modern arena is a concert palace, with incredible acoustics, comfortable seats and tons of bathrooms, plus all kinds of food and beverage options.”


The sector’s momentum may be hindered by the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in late May seeking to break up Live Nation and Ticketmaster 14 years after the government approved the merger of the two companies. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia joined the lawsuit, which alleges an illegal monopoly in the live entertainment industry. “It is time to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement announcing the suit.

For the government to prove that Live Nation is a monopoly, it must demonstrate that the company has a dominant market share. Though Billboard’s midyear report only measures the top line of the concert market — during the slowest two quarters of the year — it does offer context about the mega-promoter’s clout.

Take the Top Promoters chart. Live Nation and AEG rank first and second, respectively, followed at No. 3 by OCESA — the Mexican promotion company Live Nation purchased in December 2021 — with $403 million in sales. Of the $5.4 billion spent globally on concert tickets to events promoted by the top 20 promoters during the midyear period, according to Boxscore, Live Nation and OCESA accounted for $3.2 billion in sales — about 60% of the total.

That tracks closely to the Top Tours chart, where 31 tours — nearly two-thirds of the overall list of 50 — were produced by Live Nation. Of the top 10 tours, only one, Luis Miguel, was produced by another company. (If Swift had reported data for her AEG-produced The Eras Tour, she undoubtedly would have swelled the number of non-Live Nation productions in the top 10 to two. However, Billboard’s analysis is based only on global data that is voluntarily reported to Billboard Boxscore by promoters, venues and artists.)

A large part of the DOJ’s inquiry into Live Nation will revolve around the company’s ownership of Ticketmaster, which it acquired in 2010, along with the platform’s current market share of the concert ticketing business. On that front, Billboard found that 69 of the top 100 venues across Boxscore’s five highest-capacity charts at midyear were Ticketmaster clients.

This story will appear in the June 1, 2024, issue of Billboard.