Reports of sluggish sales and deep discounting for the Rolling Stones' "50 and Counting" tour are inaccurate, says the trip's promoter.
John Meglen, co-president of AEG Live subsidiary Concerts West, tells Billboard that the shows are coming off well. "It's unfortunate in our business that everybody wants to be cynics," he says. "The fact is, the tour is doing great and we have no problems whatsoever."
The tour is on a pace to gross close to $100 million from 18 shows. Meglen says that, as opposed to discounting, price adjustments on Stones shows in L.A. and elsewhere reflect a "flex pricing" strategy and attempts by AEG Live and the Stones to keep tickets out of the hands of brokers.
Meglen says more than 20,000 $600 tickets sold in Los Angeles across the four shows. "Did we hit a point where we ran out of people that would buy at $600? Yeah," he says. "But why can't we do the 'market value’ thing? Why do we have to let the market value proposition live with the scalpers? Why should, in my estimation, $3 million go to the brokers, instead of the artists, in every one of these markets?"
On Tuesday, the Stones added one final show for the tour, at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on June 24.
In another strategic move, 1,000 paperless tickets per show were available on rollingstones.com and the band’s social sites priced at $85, with those seats largely located in the upper bowl but "peppered" with prime seats in the GA "tongue and lips" pit up front.
In L.A., production kills from the first shows were added to that mix, which "had nothing to do with our $600 tickets," Meglen says.
So despite reports of mass discounting, "there are no $600 tickets turning into $85 tickets, I an assure you of that," Meglen says.