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04/14/2011

The Music Industry's Summer Comeback Tour

Bearded, knit-capped country crooner Zac Brown is trying something new to attract fans this summer. He's traveling with a full-service kitchen in a tractor trailer that will dish out steaming creole jambalaya ($8) and tasty chocolate peanut- butter biscuit pudding during his shows.

After last year's dismal summer concert season, acts are redrawing their strategic road maps.

John Jurgensen explains why some seats at concerts this summer will actually be cheaper than last year and what part of the arena you're like to find them.

They're rolling out new tricks such as the Railroad Revival Tour led by U.K. folk-rock band Mumford & Sons, who this month will travel with two other groups via vintage rail cars, performing at six stops from Oakland, Calif., to New Orleans—building buzz ahead of a longer U.S. tour. They're seeking out offbeat venues such as the decommissioned steel plant in Chicago that in July will host one of four inaugural festivals organized by the Dave Matthews Band.

Others are cutting ticket prices and, more quietly, tightening their touring budgets. "We might be jamming more people on fewer buses, or doing a little less pyro on stage," says Ken Levitan, a manager whose acts include the rock band Kings of Leon and pop singer Ke$ha.

The importance of the summer concert season can't be overstated for artists leaning on touring revenue, as CD sales continue to fall and audiences fragment. The industry is frantically brewing up new mixtures, trying to find something for everyone. 

Read the entire article in the Wall Street Journal.





  


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