Pink's 'Funhouse' Burns Aussie Chart, Tickets Fly

Pink's "Funhouse" album debuted at No. 1 on the Motorola Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) chart on Sunday, and she is set to break her own box office record with the "Funhouse" tour next year amid difficult times for promoters.

The LaFace/Sony BMG set sold 86,273 units, according to figures supplied to by labels body ARIA. "Funhouse" knocked AC/DC's "Black Ice" (Albert/SonyBMG) off its perch. In the previous week, the AC/DC album sold 83,855 and was Australia's fastest-selling album in two years.

Pink's "I'm Not Dead" album, which topped the chart in 2006 and 2007, currently sits at No. 15 after 100 weeks. "So What" is at No. 2 on the singles and digital-only chart after a five-week stay at top spot. The track "Sober" enters this week at No. 16.

The "Funhouse" tour, which kicks off in Perth on May 22, has sold 250,000 tickets to date. The first 200,000 were shifted on the first day on sale last Friday (Oct. 31). The tour has now expanded up to 27 arena shows. Last year, the American pop-rock star broke the Australian record for a female artist by shifting 306,000 tickets for 37 shows.

"We'll certainly do better numbers this time," says Michael Coppel, managing director of Melbourne-based Michael Coppel Presents (MCP), who also toured Pink in 2007. Coppel tells that he is negotiating to extend the tour by a further two to three weeks.

The sales heat comes at a time when the media is filled with reports that the local touring circuit is in trouble, with public consumption down during the current economic climate and the Australian dollar slipping to 66 cents against the U.S. dollar. The Aussie dollar was 98.5 cents in August. Most international tours are paid in U.S. dollars.

Such promoters as Andrew McManus, managing director of Andrew McManus Presents, admits he told many of his touring acts, who signed deals earlier in the year, to renegotiate terms or cancel. Others like Sydney-based Michael Chugg figure that "fans have probably halved the number of concerts they see for the time being."

Tour sources say that big crowd-pullers such as Paul McCartney, Neil Diamond and Green Day have delayed their visits until late 2009.

"The media has been giving public confidence a real battering," Coppel says. As a result, he says, MCP will reduce the number of tours in early 2009 "until things settle down and the public regains its confidence." MCP is this month announcing the V Festival for this period, with 12 to 14 international acts.

Another big seller has been Dutch violinist Andre Rieu who has sold 300,000 tickets for eleven shows, beginning late November, according to Universal Music Australia.