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Topic: BAD NEWS!!!!! Stones Roll to a Halt as Fans Desert Live Rock/The Sunday Times Return to archive
07-15-01 12:57 PM
Jaxx The Sunday Times
July 15, 2001

Stones Roll to a Halt as Fans Desert Live Rock
John Harlow, Los Angeles

Anniversary doubts: Mick Jagger and Keith
Richards may cancel next year's tour, though
Madonna is still packing in the fans
Photographs: Thomas Kienzle and Chris Ison

THE Rolling Stones, the world's most famous rock'n'roll survivors, have ground to a halt. Plans to celebrate the band's 40th anniversary next year with an ambitious world tour have been thrown into disarray by a steep decline in audiences for live music events.

Younger fans are increasingly reluctant to pay more than 70 for the average arena concert in America this summer, worrying the veteran band's management and the 6 billion-a-year US rock industry.

The Stones, the only first division band left from the Swinging Sixties, invented the sports stadium tour in the 1970s and grossed 500m from large-scale shows during the 1990s.

Compared with younger groups, the Stones sell relatively few records, but have commanded some of the highest ticket prices because their middle-aged fans are both loyal and well-heeled. However, recent middle-management purges have cut into their fan base and according to Pollstar, a leading firm of showbiz analysts, sales for pop concerts have fallen by 15% this year.

TNN, the organiser of the Stones' tour, has been planning a show with three stages, computer-generated scenery and sophisticated pyrotechnics to justify an average ticket price of more than 60. Now tour managers are advising that it be put off until 2003 or cancelled.Mick Jagger, 57, whose wealth is put at 150m in The Sunday Times Rich List, was persuaded to take six months off from his film production interests by Keith Richards, a self-confessed "performance junkie".

The pair were excited at the prospect of a global "blow-out" that would mark both the 40th anniversary of the band's first appearances, and provide perhaps the last opportunity to perform before both hit 60 - an age which Jagger once proclaimed would signal the end of his career as a sex symbol.

The band had previously announced they would tour this year, but this was called off so that Jagger could complete a solo album and film projects - including Enigma, a thriller starring Kate Winslet.

If the tour collapses, it will not be because the band are losing their allure, but because they are being dragged down by a malaise threatening the entire American rock business.

"The Rolling Stones are in a league of their own, charging $1,000 for the best seats," said Jeff Dorenfeld, assistant professor of music business at Berklee College in Boston. "If they do not tour next year then the whole business will suffer."

The top tours of the year so far have been by U2, the Irish rockers, who sold 40m worth of tickets and the duo of Sir Elton John and Billy Joel (35m). Even they have faced empty seats at some venues.

British acts are struggling to sell out cheaper seats. Tickets are available for shows over the next few weeks in Los Angeles by Sade, Depeche Mode, who have a top 10 album, and even Eric Clapton, who has said he is on his last tour. Madonna is one of the few to buck the trend. Tickets for her forthcoming appearances at the 20,000-seat Staples Centre in LA sold out in minutes.

"There is a simple reason for the overall decline," said Gary Bongiovanni, a Pollstar executive. "Going to a concert today can easily cost $100 [60] and lots of fans are not willing to pay that any more. There are plenty of other things kids can spend that money on, like 10 CDs, 15 movie tickets or a couple of hot video games."

Despite the worsening climate, there is no shortage of performers willing to enter the arena. Michael Jackson is preparing to tour extensively and Destiny's Child and Britney Spears also plan to return to the stage by Christmas.

It remains to be seen whether they will fare better than the Stones. "They will produce some amazing shows but what the industry really really needs is an unexpected miracle like the three remaining Beatles on stage together again," said one music industry source. "We can but dream."



07-15-01 06:28 PM
Vacendak POPPYCOCK!! The STONES will once again rule the Earth in 2002!! ROCK ONNNNN.....Vacendak
07-15-01 10:55 PM
VoodooChileInWOnderl I don't believe that, I think it does NOT come from reliable sources like Bill German or Mick Jagger in the cricket match.

I agree 300% with Vacendak... we are going to celebrate the 40th year with an album and tour.
07-16-01 09:27 AM
Jaxx i think that this article is probably pre-tour hype-- the type that usually happens. however, i do DISAGREE with voodoo here. the TIMES is a RELIABLE SOURCE. it is NOT a rag sheet like the mirror, the sun, the star. this article was well researched and it is discussing a TREND here.

"Now tour managers are advising that it be put off until 2003 or cancelled." this is all they said....advising. it is a wait and see, as usual. however, i did find this article in yesterday's papers and thought it was worth sharing.
07-16-01 09:46 AM
VoodooChileInWOnderl Oops. I didn't mean to say that the source is not reliable or comparable with the sources you mentioned like the mirror, the sun, and the star

I mean is not as reliable as the Summit summary posted by Bill German or Mick Jagger himself in the cricket match. also maybe my comment was also the result of the symptoms of such a long abstinence of stones live/studio doses

07-16-01 10:08 AM
Lazy Bones The article, I believe, was certainly worth posting. I think that there certainly is a decline in tour sales across the board.
But with the Stones, I think that the prices of the No Security tour (in North America) proved that prices made no direct effect on sales.
I, for one, still have faith for 2002!
07-16-01 11:56 AM
The Eggman The article in gernal does not insult the Stones but rather we should be happy by it, because it tells the STONES that the MUSIC INDUSTRY they built..needs help...STONES TO THE RESCUE
07-16-01 02:08 PM
Jaxx LOL

If you tour--we will come.

for diehards, ticket price is inelastic.(ie, we will pay WHATEVER IT TAKES to get in.) the youngsters are not the ones clamoring for stones tix out there nor do we want them to be.
07-16-01 02:51 PM
Gazza Firstly - the Stones have never charged $1,000 for a concert ticket - I think $500 at the Hard Rock in Vegas 3 years ago was probably the highest (correct me if I'm wrong)

I dont think it means the Stones wont tour next year - I'd bet my house on it that (barring health problems etc) they WILL go on the road to support a new album. This report is based on ongoing research which is hardly rocket scientist material (ie demand in general for concert tickets is down) and several members of the band have mentioned as lately as within the last 2 weeks thay they WILL be touring as a band in 2002. 'Nuff said.

I think theyre basically implying that they may have to downscale their expectations re: the scale of the shows and the ticket prices they can charge (or "get away with" more like). If thats the case - it suits me....smaller shows with a more affordable price is a much better alternative than the obscene price hike on the last tour. Didnt they say at the end of the last tour that stadium tours were pretty much passe? I hope so - the bottom is falling out of that market and has been for some time. Too many bands now are following the Stones lead and charging ridiculous prices for concerts. It has to reach a point where most people will say "enough" - especially for shows when youre in reality paying to watch the action on a video screen or through binoculars!

The Stones arent going to be too keen on touring at a loss (simple business sense) - however the alternative is simple. Charge sensible prices for tickets - end of story. people will still come out to see them...and in the example of most of the folks who read this board will do so on more than one occasion. If they appeal to their fanbase and appreciate that most of those people cant really afford to shell out $400 a ticket instead of catering for people who havent bought a Stones record since "Start me up",who express surprise when they go to a show and see Bill's no longer in the band and who see spending a weeks wages on a ticket as a status symbol,then they'll end up with the audience they deserve. I'd like to think they wont fall into that trap,but the signs have been ominous for a couple of years

Practically everyone who has wanted to see the Stones has had the chance to do so in the many tours they did from 1989 - 99. Its no longer a once in a lifetime event,and they might find theyre going to have trouble reaching a new concert-going audience as they have been touring now every 2-3 years for that time. After all,they dont shift records like they used to. Each of the last 3 Stones tours may very well have grossed more than the one before but that was mainly due to more shows being played,steep rises in ticket prices from one tour to the next,and inflation. In general,its been easier to get tickets for Stones shows with each succeeding tour since 1989 - the "this could be the last time - better see them now or maybe never" appeal for many would-be concert-goers maybe isnt quite what it was (even if the Stones themselves - to their eternal credit - have never milked that excuse)

My heart bleeds for the record industry people complaining that not enough of the public are willing to pay $100 a ticket anymore. Boo-hoo.(take a look at average ticket prices maybe 5 years ago for example..see the price hike..and you'll see why. Its called exploitation)

Personally speaking - I'd love to see the band back on the road next year and concentrating more on music than how many zillions they can make. Their legacy is being damaged IMO by this relentless and endless pursuit of being the richest and biggest grossing touring band ever.

They wont make a loss by going on the road (the heavy corporate sponsorship will take care of that..) and the idea that they might not tour because for example they might only make a profit of $50 million instead of an originally projected $100 million is beyond absurd. By all means,make a decent amount of money (this is business as well as pleasure) but keep a grip on reality for Chrissakes..!! This is rock'n'roll after all - youre not meant to be competing with opera or heads-up-their-own-asses rip-off idiots like Streisand or Diana Ross for ticket prices...

Get out there and play the places you want,the songs you want (when you whore yourself to the less-than-hardcore corporate crowd,youre not gonna find an audience who'll respond to "Moonlight Mile" instead of "Miss You")and play to the people who REALLY want to see you and can appreciate you for the right reasons.

Sorry for the rant. They're still the greatest rock'n'roll band in the world - its just that if I'm spending $500 on concert tickets,I'd rather it got me to about 7 shows than just one!!!!
07-16-01 03:24 PM
Todd EXCELLENT post, Gazza. You hit the nail on the head.

Think what a sensation it would cause with the public (and in the media) if the Stones went back on the road playing only theaters at $20 a seat! Sold-out shows, swarms of fans trying to get in, tons of publicity, etc. It would be an unbelievable way to put at end to the increasingly bad press they receive, and realign themselves with music and authenticity, instead of money and corporate sponsors.



07-16-01 03:33 PM
SAGJ I just heard a DJ saying that the New York Post, not an impeccable source by any stretch, reported today that the Stones were canceling the 2002 tour because of the cost of dragging all the crap that they don't need along with them. He went on to ask, why, oh why, do the Stones feel they need to have all those stages and pyrotechnics along with them, then apologized for the rant. How do you like that, someone finally apologizes for something, and he hadn't done anything wrong!

I do think a lot of this is hype; five bucks says Mick is uncomfortable with the possibility of hacks saying that a scaled down show is because they are older, or of looking like they are following U2's lead, even though they've done it before!

The DJ also said his words were probably falling on deaf ears; I hope not, and allow me to add my own. Why on earth would the Stones think we would need any of the circus trappings? Get up on that stage, plug in, and blow! That's it! And please, don't cripple us with the ticket prices though. Make a profit, you deserve it, but have mercy! I guess I count as middle aged, but believe me, nowhere near well heeled, and the question sure isn't whether or not the Stones are worth it, but whether or not I can swing it. I don't mean skipping nights in a bar or club or postponing a vacation -- I mean the friendly folks at Mastercard and Verizon.

But I'm not worried about the tour happening -- think Keith would say, oh well, we won't go out, the logistics are off and the cost-effectiveness ratio is unbalanced? Please!
07-16-01 04:48 PM
Jaxx >>I just heard a DJ saying that the New York Post, not an impeccable source by any stretch, reported today that the Stones were canceling the 2002 tour....

yes, i saw it there today. the NY Post picked up that story from the Sunday Times out of London.
07-16-01 05:14 PM
The Eggman Bah New Yorkers!!!
07-16-01 08:07 PM
Vacendak Sweet Virginia, Sir Gazza! No apology should be extended for that sweet diatribe you have blessed us with....good gawd, no sir! That was as eloquent and effective a rant as I've ever had the good fortune to witness! That line about Ms.s' Streisand and Ross was sheer bombastic artistry in motion! Ay', tis we who appreciate the grand biting eloquence of a well-placed rant who should question our own lack of or reluctance to engage in the art of the rant, and well-articulated artisans of your very caliber who are to be encouraged to "shine a light" with every rambling repartee'. These ones we call STONES are OUR rambling domain, OUR subjects on which we theorize, rhapsodize, and "ramble-ize" incessantly, and by no means is there any reason apparent to limit one's length of hearty discussion on anything STONES. So COME ON, TELL ME, BEFORE THEY MAKE ME RUN, BREAK THE SPELL and FLIP THE SWITCH, I'm TALKIN''BOUT YOU, Gazza, the UNDER-ASSISTANCE WEST-COAST PROMOTION MAN! THRU AND THRU, and WHEN THE WHIP COMES DOWN, OFF THE HOOK and OUT OF CONTROL, thru GOOD TIMES, BAD TIMES, and even HAPPY times, YOU GOT ME ROCKING! WHAT A SHAME if your "rants" were SHATTERED! ALL DOWN THE LINE, we love your rants, and can always count on you to give us the LOWDOWN! So LET IT LOOSE, LET IT BLEED, and absolutely, LET IT ROCK! ROCK ONNNNNNN!!!
07-17-01 09:51 AM
rocky dijon I know the Times is more reliable than a tabloid but how reliable was their source? The Stones' tour promoter is TNA Productions--not TNN or TNT. Any comments would probably have been made by Michael Cohl himself. TNA also handles U2. It was Cohl speaking at a stockholders meeting in early 2000 who announced that The Stones would tour in 2001. The band never made any such announcement--in fact Mick's office, Marathon Music, issued a press statement denying it. Mick even stated that BRIDGES TO BABYLON came about when Cohl suggested a tour for 1997-1998 while Mick and Keith were working on (later aborted) solo albums in 1996. It's in his best interest for Cohl to pressure The Stones to tour. At their ages, he certainly is unlikely to suggest putting the tour off for a year or more. Downward trends in concert attendance are nothing new. The Stones are a phenomenon and don't need to worry about people not turning out for what could always be "the last time". If they were concerned, they could cash in and call it their First Farewell Tour and drum up even more business.
07-17-01 10:53 AM
Jaxx LOLROTF it appears that ranting is not only cathartic, but contagious as well.

MTV News
7-14-01

Stones Big earners

The Rolling Stones are the highest earning band in the world according to the Amusement Business magazine. They gathered a hefty 56 million last year - nearly twice that of nearest competitors, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band (27.6m). N Sync made 27.6m and Shania Twain, was 4th with (23m).

07-17-01 09:55 PM
Keno
quote:
Gazza wrote:

Sorry for the rant.



Are you joking? That was great! So good that it got me to post here for the first time in ages! The last thing we the fans want or need is high tickets prices! Right on Gazza!
07-18-01 09:41 AM
Jaxx >>Too many bands now are following the Stones lead and charging ridiculous prices for concerts.

i thought the Eagles "Comeback (gagme) Tour was the first demand for $100 a ticket.

people have been paying astonmical prices for years to see professional sports events....ever check the prices on those football, hockey, basketball, baseball tix? next time you get a hold of some "company tix" check out the retail value.


>>It has to reach a point where most people will say "enough" - especially for shows when youre in reality paying to watch the action on a video screen or through binoculars!

we can only hope.

people just fork over their plastic and pay for it that way. conspicuous consumption is the "in thing" and it is being financed by plastic-- turning the world economy into a house of cards waiting to fall.
07-18-01 12:15 PM
Lazy Bones I think you're right, Jaxx, about the Eagles. In 1994, their "Hell Freezes Over" tour was (up until that point) the most expense show I saw - $66 (Cdn) for 140 rows back on the field (CNE Stadium,Toronto,ON). Rather disappointing seeing I paid $40 to see Pink Floyd that same week, same venue with better seats!
07-18-01 02:10 PM
SAGJ You know, I think we are in part responsible for these outrageous ticket prices, because we sit back and take it. Of course they have us by the short hairs, I don't look at these shows as a nice evening out, but the way a diabetic looks at insulin -- and look at how the drug companies screw diabetics over! But I'm not talking about what the bands get. We let these idiots like Ticketmaster and so on get away with murder -- protest has gone out of fashion as inconvenient, huh? The last time I ordered tickets from them, I couldn't even get a hold of an actual person -- I had to do it by phone bingo -- press one for this, two for that...they send the tickets regular mail, they don't have an 800 number, and they fry you with their damned ads while you are on hold, and oh, are you ever on hold! So how do they justify these exhorbitant fees? And keep in mind, they follow the same exact process for the Stones as they would for say a tennis match at the same venue, but it costs more for the Stones. New math? Now, Madison Square Garden (yes, I'm a bloody New Yorker, goo goo ga choo) charges a surcharge -- a dollar for a Knicks game, $3 for U2. A surcharge for what? That was on top of the Ticketmaster fee. You end up paying around twenty percent more for a ticket than face value -- and if a cop caught you selling the ticket for what you paid for it, he could bust you as a scalper!! I'll give the money to Charlie Watts in a heartbeat, but some suit and tie slug at Ticketmaster? Pearl Jam never got the props they deserve.

Thank God ranting is appreciated on this board!
07-18-01 02:53 PM
Stonesmillenium2001 I don't believe a damn word of them canceling a tour. the stones will tour in 2002.
07-18-01 03:45 PM
Jaxx >>SAGJ:Madison Square Garden (yes, I'm a bloody New Yorker, goo goo ga choo) charges a surcharge -- a dollar for a Knicks game, $3 for U2. A surcharge for what? That was on top of the Ticketmaster fee. You end up paying around twenty percent more for a ticket than face value -- and if a cop caught you selling the ticket for what you paid for it, he could bust you as a scalper!!

only 3 dollars surcharge? you guys are doing better than we are. paramount theatre, $15 dollar surcharge, fiddlers green $8 dollar surcharge, red rocks is a deal at a $5 dollar surcharge. add that to the ticketbastard "convenience" charge, taxes and i have paid the ticket price all over again in surcharges, convenience charges and taxes.

i hear ya and yeah, they do have us by the shorthairs, don't they? i like the diabetic metaphor. i know exactly what you mean. just gotta have it no matter the cost and this is why the ticket prices continue to escalate.
07-18-01 07:20 PM
Gazza i thought the Eagles "Comeback" (gagme) Tour was the first demand for $100 a ticket.

It was (in rock circles anyway.....) - however the Stones took it to new levels of ridiculousness on their last tour - especially considering the fact that a year earlier their prices were not THAT unreasonable (on average 50% of what they were in 1999) - Barbra Streisand has been known to charge an average of about $250 for a concert ticket - God forbid if thats the type of yardstick the Stones are wanting to be compared to...

>people have been paying astronomical prices for years to see professional sports events....ever check the prices on those football, hockey, basketball, baseball tix? next time you get a hold of some "company tix" check out the retail value.

Fair point,although I dont think two wrongs make a right and I'm sure you agree...Depends on the sport youre talking about though,Jaxx (other sports like football - ie OUR kind..lol) and where youre watching it. fact is..you simply wouldnt get away with those prices - for music or sport - in Europe,regardless of how high income the clientele is. The bottom line is - this is rock'n'roll - its not MEANT to be aimed at the select few who have more money than sense and who know the price of everything yet the value of nothing

07-18-01 07:38 PM
SAGJ >The bottom line is - this is rock'n'roll - its not MEANT to be aimed at the select few who have more money than sense and who know the price of everything yet the value of nothing<

Gazza, that's beautiful, I needed to hear someone else say that for once!!

See, they say you can only count on death and taxes, but after reading what Jaxx said about venue surcharges, count on the fact that no matter how bad you have it, someone else has it worse. That's obscene. How come the phrase "grey suited grafters" just popped into my head?

Hey! Maybe that's it! Let's petition Mick to live up to some of the lyrics, other than "Parachute Woman," and such, of course. Spare a thought for the rag-taggy people! Ooh, I feel a bumper sticker coming on.

07-19-01 12:54 AM
The Eggman Goo goo ahcjoo?


oh i see

damn yankeee
07-26-01 01:36 AM
rimbaud Funny, all the ticket price talk reminded me of the first time I saw the Stones. It was at Madison Square Garden (2nd row) with all those steel drummers lol...and the ticket cost was so prohibitively high for this then-14 year old, that I actually took up my parents' offer: I would bring my sister to the show ( a decidedly un-hip move, I know), in exchange for their footing the bill for both tickets. Their total cost - $ 25 bucks ($12.50 per).
What else could a poor boy do ?

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