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EDITIONS
 Monday, 6 January, 2003, 10:23 GMT
Veterans drive gig sales up
Sir Paul McCartney
Tickets for Paul McCartney's tour were the highest price
Veteran acts Cher and Sir Paul McCartney helped drive North American concert ticket sales up to a record $2.1bn (1.3bn) last year.

The rise is thanks to fans who forked out up to $350 (218) each for the privilege of seeing their idols.

According to concert trade publication Pollstar, sales across the US and Canada hit a record for the fourth consecutive year and were up about 20% on 2001's tally of $1.75bn (1.09bn).

The average gig ticket price for the top 100 acts averaged $46.56 (29) - a six percent increase over 2001's $43.86 (27) average.

Cher
Fans paid an average $72 for Cher tickets

But some acts charged far higher prices.

Tickets for Sir Paul McCartney's concerts were the most costly.

The former Beatle, who toured in 2002 for the first time in nine years, charged an average of $130 (81) per ticket at his 53 shows, but his top price reached $250 (154).

Sir Paul's tour now ranks as the all-time fourth biggest earner in the US and Canada, behind the Rolling Stones, U2 and Pink Floyd.

Greedy

But despite the high takings Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni said the concert industry in North America was in poor shape.

Greedy rock stars were crippling the industry by demanding hefty guarantees from promoters, resulting in high ticket prices and empty seats.

"It would be difficult to find an industry insider who could pronounce overall business healthy," he said.

Cher's tour was number three on the list with total sales of $73.6m (45.9) and an average ticket price of $72 (44).

The pairing of Billy Joel and Elton John grossed $65.5m ($40). Their average ticket cost $108 (66).

Rounding up the year's top 10 were rock act Dave Matthews Band at number five, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at number six, Aerosmith at number seven, followed by rock band Creed, Neil Diamond, and the Eagles.

The gross figures do not include merchandising sales, where rock stars earn huge sums from souvenirs such as T-shirts and badges.

See also:

03 Jan 03 | Entertainment
20 Nov 02 | Business
19 Nov 02 | Business
04 Nov 02 | Entertainment
15 Jul 02 | Entertainment
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