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.

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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.

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“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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