Singer Ed Sheeran's hugely successful "Divide" global tour has earned him the distinct honor of having made more money touring this year than any other artist in the last 30 years.
The trade publication and box office research group Pollstar has recently released its end-of-the-year report on this year's concert revenues. Sheeran was found to have been not only the top earner of this year but also of the past 30 years, having made more money than any other artist in the last three decades.
His "Divide" tour largely consisted of him performing alone onstage, although he did have legendary musician Elton John join him on stage for a few select shows. In total, Sheeran's tour sold 4,860,482 tickets for 94 shows across 53 cities. He earned a whopping $432 million, effectively shattering the record for the highest global tour revenue by an artist in a single year.
This year's other touring performers simply couldn't compete with Sheeran's incredible numbers. Taylor Swift's 2018 "Reputation" tour pulled in $345.1 million, while Jay-Z and Beyonce's "On the Run II" tour earned $254.1 million.
While Sheeran was most certainly the shining star of this year's Pollstar report, there are certainly other outstanding numbers to highlight from the list. Pollstar reported that the year 2018 saw the Top 10 of the Worldwide Tours chart surpass $2 billion in grosses for the first time ever. This year's total concert tour earnings totaled $5.6 billion, with 59.8 million tickets having been sold.
As Exclaim reported, it is certainly worth mentioning that Sheeran had the lowest average ticket price of any other artist in the Top 10, and still blew past the competition to come out on top. The average price for a ticket to see Ed Sheeran live during his 2018 global tour came in at about $88.96. Comparatively, fans of the rock band Eagles were handing over an average of $172.13 to see them live in concert.
In their press release, Pollstar reported that the numbers that have come out of 2018 show a growing trend for experiencing live music that is expected to only continue as the years go on.
"More artists are breaking, more music is being consumed, there's more types and there's less filters," Marc Geiger, WME Partner and Head of Music, told Pollstar. "The bottom line is more people around the world have an entire library of music on them and music becomes a better part of their life -whether it's YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud, it doesn't matter - it's music."
Geiger noted that the live music industry is expected to experience a massive growth for the next 10 to 15 years.
At the end of the day, 2018 has certainly proven to have been an excellent year for music and also demonstrates just how alive and well the desire to see musicians live in concert truly is.