Expert: Sold Out Stadium Shows Like U2 At The Linc Might Become A Thing Of The Past

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Rock superstars U2 sold out the Linc in South Philadelphia Thursday night for the concert postponed by lead singer Bono’s bad back.

Few bands command the kind of loyalty and enthusiasm U2 does, and experts believe the number is likely to get even smaller.

Few of the thousands of fans who paid hundreds of dollars each and waited a whole year for last night’s concerts would believe it, but music industry expert Marcy Rauer Wagman of Drexel University says U2 might never have achieved its iconic status if they were starting out today.

“The first five records were not big sellers. It really wasn’t until “Joshua Tree” that U2 started to become an internationally known act. The thing is though, record companies no longer stay with bands for that period of time.” Wagman explained.

She says record labels, getting trounced by digital downloads, can no longer afford to wait out years of slow sales.

“It’s really very, very difficult for a new band to find that kind of devotion from a label anymore. Labels as true artist development companies simply does not exist any more.”

Wagman says there are advantages for young groups to be able to bypass record companies and go directly to fans, but one casualty is likely to be big stadium concerts. More bands are being listened to, but their fan bases are smaller, thus so are sales of songs and concert tickets. With a more diffused audience, megabands who can sell them out, may disappear.

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio

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One Comment

  1. caps says:

    I think this guy is wrong. Most concerts there are sell outs what is he talking about ?

  2. scottr says:

    not sur i agree as many of us remember when the Grateful Dead routinely sold out huge stadiums in Philly and beyond, , and they never sold many records at all

  3. Jake B. says:

    Interesting. This idea has been around for a while though. It’s basically the Internet; in pre-net days, a band had to get media coverage to really be noticed (radio play, newspaper review, etc.), so people weren’t exposed to a lot of music, and had only a handful of choices, unless they really wanted to explore (which meant going to local shows, and hanging out at the record store – few people had the time). This means more people liked the same bands, which in turn made those bands more money, and you see “super groups” and “legendary” bands coming from those situations. Now, any no-name garage band can reach thousands of people with one YouTube video. Online music services like Pandora throw band after band at you, and you can listen to a whole slew of music and groups you would have never heard before. More people have musical tastes spread out through many bands and genres, therefore generally less loyalty to any specific band, and less “real” fans per band. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, as music is becoming more and more free and open – but you definitely will see a drop in major concerts and tours.

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