At the beginning of the 2015, I made 15 predictions about the music industry and live events. Our mostly optimistic picks reflected a sense of growth and opportunity in the concert world and that attitude seems to carry over into 2016. I nailed a few predictions, was off on others, and had a handful that were totally wrong. Check out how we did below, and if you have any predictions for 2016, email them to Dave@ampthemag.com or leave them in the comment section.
The ones I got right
I predicted there would be a political fight in Rapid City, South Dakota, over its plans for a new arena and that certainly turned out to be true, with voters opting to reject the city’s ambitious $180-million project. I also believed that signs point to a better economy for consumers and I was pretty spot on with 3.9% GDP and continued job growth, lower gas prices and cheap borrowing, even after the Fed ended the zero-interest policy. I told you don’t count on the DNC in NYC — guess what, I was right. The 2016 Democratic National Convention will be held in Philadelphia. And I predicted that we’d hear new music from Adele and that Madonna comes back, too. Check and check. Damn I’m smart.
The ones I had mixed luck with
I predicted that Garth Brooks will bring in about $150 million in 2015 and I was feeling pretty good about this prediction after Pollstar released its mid-year numbers that said Brooks had cleared $80 million in the first six months of 2015. But according to the Pollstar Year End Top 20 Worldwide Tours chart, Brooks grossed closer to $110-million. Keep in mind this is an estimate — Brooks doesn’t report his numbers, so Pollstar has to make its best estimate. He made less because he played less shows in the second half of 2015 and therefore brought in less moola.
I also predicted that low oil prices would help touring but hurt long-term sustainability initiatives. While cheap gas did help tours, the world did not lose focus and passed a comprehensive climate change accord in Paris earlier this year. I also predicted that Live Nation’s stock price would hit $30 per share in 2015 and it got close, spending a few days at the $29 per share mark in June, before coming back down to the $24.57 year-end close price. And finally I said Ticketmaster’s integration with Apple Pay would be a success, which it is. Sort of. The technology is impressive, but fewer people are using Apple Pay to buy tickets than I predicted.
The easy predictions
Ok, a few of these predictions were gimmes and I don’t deserve a ton of credit for making obvious picks. I said the legacy of Sochi completely fades especially as Putin continues his incursion into the Ukraine. The goodwill of the 2014 games has been completely lost and Sochi remains the poster child of excess and corruption in the Olympic Community. I also said that Bono returns worse for the wear, following a bike accident in New York. He did come back and launched one of the best tours of 2015 and gave an amazing performance with the Eagles of Death Metal following the Paris attacks. And I predicted that Sam Smith has a great Grammy night and he most certainly did, picking up four awards including Best New Artist, Song of the Year and Record of the Year. If I would have predicted that Beck would have won album of the year, ya’ll would have been pretty damn impressed.
The ones I totally got wrong
After a bunch of layoffs at the conclusion of 2014, I said there would be more turnover at Ticketmaster. I got that one wrong, there were no serious layoffs and the company had a pretty good 2015. I also said there would be further consolidation of the ticketing market — besides a relatively small transaction of Vendini purchasing CrowdTorch and AXS’ merger with Veritix, my prediction turned out to be wrong. The ticket market actually expanded with a number of new companies planting flags including See Tickets, the French ticketing company owned by Universal/Vivendi. Notice I’m not counting the sale of Ticketfly to Pandora — that was more of an ownership change than an actual consolidation of the market. And finally I predicted that a lack of drone legislation would mean more headaches for event producers. Well it turns out the FAA introduced a number of guidelines to reign in drones and make events safer, including a national registry to help identify drone pilots who are breaking the rules. Event producers have more tools than ever to stop illegal flyovers — good news for facilities, bad news for my predictive skills. Can’t get em all right, right?