U2 Tour May be a Two Billion Dollar Baby - $736 Million in Tickets plus Merchandising, etc.

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By Jeffrey Jolson, Hollywood Today

HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Today) 8/1/11 -- U2′s worldwide 360 Tour is now the biggest tour ever with ticket grosses of $736 million in ticket grosses alone. That is not including the band's famously lucrative merchandising income (at least another $750 million in this case), tour-related back catalogue sales, airplay royalties and multiple videos/long-play CDs the tour has and will generate.

The band reportedly earns a $1.1 billion dollar annual salary, a figure generated by money magazines even before the 360 Tour was all tallied. In the minutes you spend reading this article they will have earned about $20,000 dollars and they are probably not even awake.

So it is not surprising the group had to largely pull up stakes in Ireland for tax reasons. Where are they living now? Wherever the hell they want to of course. The trick here is not having full-time residence in certain countries.

Bono has reportedly has one place in the Netherlands and another near tax-friendly Monte Carlo, where he is neighbors with folks like Julian Lennon, who doesn't want all his slice of the Beatles inheritance to go to Mr. Taxman. Bono could, and likely does have houses in a dozen places - he just generally can't live in one for more than three months a year depending on local tax laws. Ah, the nomadic life.

Bono and the boys don't buy a lot of solid gold toilets though; in fact they spend much of their money and time on charities. Plus there is a cost to being a U2 star.

It reportedly costs the group $750,000 a day to be on the road, so they are not likely to be all packed into a 1963 VW van. Yet it is not just the price of a G5 private jet, dozens of trucks and hundreds of employees need to trek with them.

The Rolling Stones, now No. 2 on the hit list with $558 million in grosses from their last tour had to travel with 65 big rig trucks.

The tour was also a technological and musical triumph. It was called the 360 as it was sort of theater-in-the-round so it seemed more intimate - though unlike most of those types of productions, it actually increased to capacities of the stadiums by 25 percent..

The 110th and final show of its monster road-trip was Saturday in Moncton, New Brunswick. Everyone may have been drenched in Dom Perignon then, but manager and the promoter were sweating bullets for a while.

Promoter Authur Fogel of Live Nation, who put up big rig full of cash, said as popular as U2 is worldwide, launching a never-before-attempted 360 configuration that would put 7 million tickets in the marketplace in a treacherous global economy was ambitious, to say the least. "I remember when everything was first laid out, the production was conceived, and we came to the realization of what it did to the capacities," Fogel told Billboard.com/biz backstage at the tour's 100th stop in Nashville earlier this month. "We were in a meeting in New York, we saw the design, and talked about all the different angles. There was a moment of sitting there and everyone thinking, 'do you think we'll sell the tickets?' My gut was 'absolutely yes,' and I remember leaving the meeting and thinking, "oh shit.'"

The aesthetic success of the production and the staging known as "the claw," which literally surrounds the band with fans, depends on full houses. "There's nowhere to hide," Fogel says. "It was definitely scary."

Longtime U2 manager Paul McGuinness said 360 was a reference not only to the unique production of the tour, but also a sly nod to U2′s long-term multi-rights deal with promoter Live Nation, "a little private joke to amuse myself at one point."

The tour began June 30, 2009, in Barcelona, Spain, and swept across Europe before landing on North American shores on Sept. 12 in Chicago. This was the first time the band had played stadiums on the continent since the PopMart tour in 1997/'98.

© 2011 Hollywood Today

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on August 1, 2011 7:31 PM.

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