No. 65: Laurie Jacoby | Power 100
Senior vp New York concerts and entertainment, Madison Square Garden
$209.3 MILLION IN TICKET SALES: Jacoby's concert curation helped drive a 1.5 percent bump in revenue in 2018 for Manhattan's hallowed arena. All told, the Garden sold 2 million concert tickets to 140 shows for a total gross of $184 million -- enough to put it atop Billboard's year-end ranking of the top live venues with a capacity of more than 15,000. Among the live-music milestones of last year were four-night runs from Radiohead, Romeo Santos and Drake as well as Billy Joel's 100th performance at the Garden (most of them a product of his five-years-and-running residency). "And we do that with two teams in the building," says Jacoby, who reveals that her "pinch me" moment of the year was booking Mumford & Sons for "two magnificent shows" after pursuing the band for 10 years.
Did any trends emerge from the concert slate you booked in 2018?
It's the next generation of Latin artists and hip-hop stars who are bringing young people to the building. They are becoming more mainstream in terms of ticket sales. We saw this with a number of artists who played their first shows at the Garden in 2018, including Maluma, Ozuna, Childish Gambino, Logic and Travis Scott. Ozuna did 18,000 tickets in the round, which is no small feat.
How has streaming changed the way that you book the Garden?
People come up a lot faster to the arena level. For example, we have Robyn playing here in March. She has never played the Garden, and we sold it out almost immediately. If you were to ask people on the street who Robyn was, not everybody would know -- she has been around for years, but she's not a household name. But there were enough fans because of her worldwide popularity [that is] driven by access to her music.
There has been a shift in how the industry prices tickets. Is it better to sell out quickly or to mark up tickets and sell them slower but with a higher yield?
Obviously, we work with the artist and management and with the promoter to decide price. My opinion is that artists come in to sell out a show at Madison Square Garden. I don't think the strategy is to see how long it takes.
What trend would you like to see in the live industry in the coming year?
Updated technology that allows fans to get tickets to the shows they want without going through the secondary market.