Arthur Fogel, 61, President, Live Nation Global Touring; Chairman, Live Nation Global Music, is the master of the megatour. His Toronto-based, 25-person team, backed by Live Nation’s international network of promoters, producers, merchandisers and marketers, has seen tour grosses of more than $3.2 billion combined during the past decade, according to Billboard Boxscore — among them, five of the top 10 biggest moneymaking treks ever, all steered by Fogel.
With a band like U2, what is consistent across the world, and what was the strategy for Innocence + Experience as a follow-up to 360°?
They have the distinction of being the biggest band in the world. … Yet we made the decision to come out a totally different way this time — in arenas, not stadiums, so they could play more shows in one city. It’s eight [nights] in New York, six in London, five in Chicago. Like 360° selling out stadiums, it’s a different way to come at it, but changing things up is good. And the results — 99 percent of tickets have been sold — are absolutely fantastic. This is the first time U2 has played arenas in 10 years.
There has been a significant amount of negativity in the media around this cycle.
It’s funny, because the most annoying thing I deal with is people who write about the live business and don’t have a f—ing clue what they’re writing about. It’s like people always want to look at some negative bullshit and not dive into what’s the truth, particularly in the blog world. It’s not about fact-checking, it’s about steering an agenda. I suppose it comes with the territory — when you’re the biggest and the best, you’re more of a target — but it’s such a silly thing when you’ve sold 99.9 percent of the tickets, averaging over 16,000 per show, 1 million tickets, just crazy numbers. You’re talking about levels of business that most acts don’t see in a career, let alone one leg of a tour. It’s so ridiculous that it can be frustrating. My world isn’t about spin, my world is about facts, and the facts say it’s a home run.