U2 Tour Wins Some, Loses Some

Irish band U2 has always done things in a big way. Big shows, big music videos, big events for charities, the list could go on and on. Based on their history, the band really doesn’t enjoy doing anything small-scale. Take for instance their current tour, “360 degrees.” The tour has broken countless attendance records and has raked in close to $300 million. To put things into perspective of just how elaborate the tour is, the 170-ton stage itself is worth $40 million and is considered the biggest stage ever in rock history to travel the world. It has three separate models with its own crew and takes a full two days to disassemble.

As of now the band has been touring for 4 months and in that amount of time, has only earned enough revenue to cover just the tour’s startup costs. Though they are still in the very beginning stages of playing catch up, at least it’s some headway, right? But, as soon as the band starts making financial progress, it’s time to call it quits. The fall and winter weather forces the band to move their costly show indoors. With almost any other band out there, this wouldn’t be much of an issue. But this is U2 we’re talking about and they’re not the same as everyone else, but instead, must always the exception. Their gargantuan stage won’t even fit in most indoor arenas. So when next spring rolls around and they try to pick the tour up where it left off, they’ll be burning through $750,000 per day in overhead alone.

What’s even crazier about this is that “360 degrees” isn’t even considered the band’s most excessive tour. Previous tours, “Zoo TV” and “Pop Mart” hold those outrageous titles. However, never before in U2’s history have they had to work for this long before seeing any returned profit. I guess that happens from time to time when you live by the “bigger is better” motto. Another major factor as to why the band’s not seeing even remotely timely returns is due to, surprise, the economy. In the past, even if a band’s touring costs were in the ballpark of outrageousness, record sales amongst other things would make up for it. But, such is unfortunately not the case for U2 at the moment. Their newest record release, “No Line on the Horizon,” has been out since March, but it took seven months to reach $1 million in sales, a sore disappointment and certainly not the norm for a band such as U2.

But it’s not as if they think their fan base has anything to do with the lack of record sales, because the current tour’s ticket sales prove their fans are here to stay – every show on the tour has sold out. And to make other important financial ends meet, the band will be playing the Rose Bowl, which is said to draw the largest crowd in the venue’s history. It will be streamed live on YouTube and filmed for a DVD release as well. Before the tour finally wraps up, scheduled to take place sometime late next year, the band’s manager, Paul McGuinness, says that it will probably top the Rolling Stones’ “Bigger Bang” tour, a tour that grossed $558 million, and ultimately become the highest-grossing tour in history, not to be confused with the highest money making. But the men of U2 have been there, done that, made their millions, and aren’t bothered in the slightest if they don’t leave this particular tour as pocket heavy as they have in the past.  “In the end it’s investing in our future. Not in our future financially, in our future musically, cause at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about,” says drummer Larry Mullen Jr. “We’ve all made enough money to live for the rest of our lives quite comfortably.”

Oh I’m sure they have, and just for the record, “quite comfortably” is probably the biggest understatement I’ve heard all week.

Via: The Wrap