Both major and independent promoters agree that artists should consider playing smaller venues for the good of the touring industry. Panelists at the Billboard Backstage Pass Conference today (Nov. 8)

Both major and independent promoters agree that artists should consider playing smaller venues for the good of the touring industry. Panelists at the Billboard Backstage Pass Conference today (Nov. 8) in New York said selling out smaller venues will help draw concertgoers to more shows.

"We've built sheds, but people aren't filling them," said Bill Reid, president of independent promoter Rising Tide. "Less bands today can sustain arena shows for long periods of time. Lots can fill 2,000- to 4,000-seat venues."

Jack Utsick, president/CEO of Jack Utsick Presents, said the "3,000-to-6,000-seat theaters is where the business will be."

Many independent promoters also said that the consolidation of the business actually may help them in the long run.

"A consolidated company is only as strong as its weakest link," said Brad Garrett, owner/president of Police Productions. "The pendulum will swing, and we're waiting it out."

Major promoters discussed ways to deal with ticket-price resistance.

John Meglen, president/co-CEO of AEG Live/Concerts West, said that for the recent Usher concerts, the company did a test of ticket prices first and ultimately lowered them.

Bob Roux, president of PACE Concerts, added that national on-sales do not "allow you to test prices. Labels urge this because they want big promotions. Managers want to get shows up and then move on."

Attendance is more than 400 strong at the two-day event, taking place at New York's Roosevelt Hotel. The conference ends tomorrow with an awards presentation.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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