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Will Taylor Swift Or Beyoncé Be First To Book A Billion On The Road? Either Way, Radio Wins.


It's official: in 2023, with the worst of the pandemic in the rear-view mirror, live music is back – which means so are the ticket giveaways, backstage passes and meet-and-greets.


As major artists embark, or are already, on stadium tours with record-setting ticket prices during an iffy economy – making those giveaways more important than ever – radio is ready to reap the benefits from both a promotion and programming standpoint.


As it stands, two of Mediabase's 10 most played artists on radio in the U.S. this year to date – Taylor Swift and Beyoncé – could well break the record for the biggest tour ever in music history, each aiming to crack the never-before-met $1 billion mark in ticket sales. They'd be passing current record-holder Elton John, who's made $800 million on his still-going farewell “Yellow Brick Road” tour, and an act just outside of Mediabase's top 10, Ed Sheeran, whose North American tour kicks off in April to promote a new album release in May.


Other radio-friendly acts on the road this year are SZA, Lizzo, Drake, Pink and Red Hot Chili Peppers, all of which are also listed on Mediabase's top 40 most-played ranker. Among other artists expected to have big-grossing stadium/arena tours in 2023 are a trio powering classic hits and/or classic rock stations: Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, and Depeche Mode.


The race to $1 billion between Swift and Beyoncé hinges on who plays where, for how much and how long. According to Bloomberg.com, Swift's tour, with her highest ticket prices to date, has made more than $10 million per show so far, and with her current schedule could net her between $500 and $600 million, with the potential for added overseas dates pushing her toward that billion mark. Beyoncé, who already has overseas shows scheduled, could certainly add more.


Both performers have fewer scheduled dates – at current count, 50 – and higher ticket prices than Sheeran, whose latest tour included more than 250 dates at $88 a ticket. And both have pent-up demand for the limited number of seats, as Swift tours only every couple of years, with each major album release, while this is Beyoncé's first tour in seven years.


It all amounts to what experts say will be a big year for high-priced big-venue tours. Says Jeffrey Hasson, co-head of the Nashville office at United Talent Agency, “There’s a healthy top end of the business.”

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