Billboard Bits: Sting/Fiction Plane, Cher, 'Hey Ya!'

News on Sting, Cher, 'Hey Ya!'

StingSting's Broken Music tour, which has found him reviving Police and solo tracks with a lean, five-piece band, wraps with shows tonight (May 13) in Wantagh, N.Y., and tomorrow with a rare club gig at New York's Irving Plaza. The latter performance will be filmed for a concert DVD to be directed by Lance Bangs (Pavement, R.E.M.).

The opening act for the last leg of dates has been Fiction Plane, fronted by Sting's son, Joe Sumner. As previously reported, the group will release a new EP, "Bitter Forces and Lame Race Horses," this summer internationally via Everybody's Records. Sting was on hand to watch the quartet preview some of its new material last night at New York's Mercury Lounge.

The Broken Music run has grossed $6.7 million from 23 shows reported to Billboard Boxscore and has played to more than 92% capacity, including 12 sell-outs. Sting is expected to keep a low profile this summer as he mulls his next project.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

CherCher's recently completed farewell tour has easily become the top-grossing trek ever for a female artist, and one of the more successful outings of all time. The tour wrapped at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on April 29-30, with two sell-out nights grossing $2.8 million.

Over the course of 280 shows in North America, Cher played to 2,880,726 fans, and grossed $194,683,927. More impressively, she played to 92% of capacity and realized 90% of her gross potential on the road.

"No other female artist has ever come close to what she did," says Brad Wavra, the touring VP at Clear Channel Entertainment who promoted every North American show on the tour. "Not Madonna, not Bette Midler, not Janet, not Whitney, not Tina, because she outworked them all." With European and Australian shows included, Cher played a total of 325 dates, grossing well over $200 million.

-- Ray Waddell, Nashville

OutKastOutKast's "Hey Ya!" (Arista/Sony BMG) has been named as Britain's "most used" track of 2004 by collecting society Phonographic Performance Ltd. PPL monitors public performance of music both on radio and TV and at all live locations including clubs, shops, pubs and other premises.

It's the second consecutive year that Sony BMG, as it now is, has claimed first place on the public performance chart; Justin Timberlake's "Rock Your Body" (Jive) was PPL's most used track of 2003. For 2004, Sony BMG claims the top four places, with George Michael's "Amazing" (Aegean) at No. 2, Maroon 5's "This Love" (J) at No. 3 and Anastacia's "Left Outside Alone" (Epic) at No. 4. The major also placed Britney Spears' "Toxic" (Jive) at No. 6 and Will Young's "Leave Right Now" (S) at No. 8.

The first non-Sony BMG single to appear in the most-played chart for 2004 is No Doubt's "It's My Life" (Interscope/Universal) at No. 5. Universal also has Mario Winans' "I Don't Wanna Know" (Bad Boy) at No. 9, while EMI has Kylie Minogue's "Red Blooded Woman" (Parlophone) at No. 7 and Joss Stone's "Super Duper Love" (Relentless) at No. 9. Warner Music failed to place a song in the top 20.

-- Paul Sexton, London