HITS Daily Double


FRONT OF HOUSE: It’s a lot easier to be a career act when you can play shows and connect authentically with audiences—and the post-pandemic rebound of the live sector has been staggering.

Michael Rapino’s Live Nation continues to rack up record revenues and massive marketshare for the concert-promotion business, which is leveraged by ticketing and artist management. With a record Q3 of $8.3b in revenue (+32%) and $16.9b YTD, House Rapino is on pace for a record-breaking year as its operating income hits $1.1b YTD (+35%).

Jay Marciano and Team AEG are also on fire with not only humongous ticket sales but tremendous cultural reach in the festival space with Coachella, Stagecoach, Desert Trip, Jazz Fest and more. Then there’s the phenomenon that is Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, which has taken their year into the stratosphere with a precedent-smashing $1b+ take (4.3m+ tickets sold, 17.3m average gross per show). Tay’s trek, which included six nights at L.A.’s SoFi Stadium, has been so gigantic that it’s spilled into other media—spawning a smash film and storming the weekly chart with its precisely curated set lists. Of course, playing the top-grossing tour of all time was just one of Tay’s stunning 2023 achievements, which also included being the top streaming act (26b+ global streams on Spotify alone) and having four albums in the Top 10 of our YTD U.S. activity chart.

Beyoncé, meanwhile, has (without the storm of headlines) racked up about $580m with her RENAISSANCE World Tour (56 shows), Harry Styles amassed nearly $340m (69 shows) and Wallen scored $260m+ (44 shows), while acts like Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, P!nk, The Weeknd, Drake, KAROL G, Luke Combs and the ostensibly retiring Elton John did huge numbers.

Another big development on the live front was the opening of MSG’s Sphere in Vegas with a U2 residency, the high-tech razzle-dazzle of which generated most of the headlines, as Jim Dolan and Irving Azoff ramped up the ballyhoo and won the news cycle. The follow-up act at the cutting-edge venue, it was announced this week, is Phish—a Dolan favorite.

These shows, which have reportedly earned north of $110m in ticket sales already, also reinforce the residency as a potent new arrow in the quiver of stadium- and arena-level acts. Harry Styles previously demonstrated this with his 15 shows each in L.A. and NYC, and Adele proved it with her incredible stint in Vegas.

In the Latin world, UTA-repped KAROL G had the highest-grossing tour, earning close to $150m with 19 shows, including three of San Juan's Hiram Bithorn stadiums. UTA also reps fellow live giants Bad Bunny (about 68m with 18 shows; like KAROL G, Bunny is booked by Jbeau Lewis) and Romeo Santos (nearly $60m with 32 shows), while CAA can claim #2 Latin touring act RBD (about $87m with 18 shows), as well as biggies Rauw Alejandro ($50m+/36 shows) and Grupo Firme ($48m+/30 shows). We’re told that breakouts Peso Pluma ($48.8m/39 shows) and Carin Leon ($39.5m/29 shows) are being hotly pursued by agencies; the former looks to be considerably harder to land than the latter. Speaking of Leon, word has it a major-label deal could be announced very soon.

Wasserman-repped Wisin & Yandel’s farewell tour was a global force, selling 68k tickets for their Mexico City stadium show in a few days; the agency also saw big action on Anuel AA (14 sold-out arena dates including MSG and the Forum), Myke Towers (whom Wasserman reps for Latin America and Europe and who is headlining big venues en route to greater stardom) and more. Juan Toro, who runs the agency’s Latin team, is the agent responsible for all three acts. The agency announced on 12/15 that it had also inked breakout Maria Becerra, who will be repped by Toro and Ryan Soroka.

A FASTER CAR: Country’s banner year was led by Morgan Wallen and Zach Bryan, who ruled the stadiums and the charts with multiple albums. This was also true of Luke Combs, who notched a global smash with his version of “Fast Car” for Randy Goodman’s Sony Nashville. The group also racked up strong streaming numbers on tracks for Kane & Katelyn Brown and Megan Maroney (Sony Nashville/Columbia). As Cindy Mabe began the process of remaking UMG Nashville in her own image, Chris Stapleton finished the year with a big release and Jordan Davis continued to post solid streaming numbers. The War and Treaty’s BNA nomination should certainly help extend their brand. Ben Kline and Cris Lacy are making Warner Nashville theirs, led by significant streams for Bailey Zimmerman and Cole Swindell. Jon Loba’s Broken Bow put a lot of points on the board this year with the breakouts of both BNA nominee Jelly Roll and CMA darling Lainey Wilson. In addition to Wallen, Seth England’s multi-format breakout HARDY has solid streams on multiple tracks, notably his collab with Wilson. Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine ended the year in style, thanks to the national treasure (and marketing genius) known as Dolly Parton.

Country’s extraordinary year at the turnstiles was led by The Neal Agency-booked all-genre monster Wallen, unsurprisingly, with a mammoth $260m+ take with 44 shows—and a stadium rampage on tap for 2024—while CAA-repped Combs racked up $133m+ with 42 dates. Two newcomers, in particular, WME-booked Zach Bryan ($45m from 34 shows, with stadiums on deck) and CAA-repped Jelly Roll ($36m+, 50 shows) showed real muscle, with the likelihood of sizable growth in the coming year.