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Journal of the
Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association
Volume 11, Number 1 (2011)

The Biggest Show on Earth: The U2 360-Degree Tour and Its Implications for the Concert Industry

Dan Dicker

The MEIEA Journal occasionally features outstandingstudent papers. This undergraduate research paper was written by Dan Dicker, a recent graduate of Indiana University.


    The concert industry handbook is being rewritten by U2—a band that has released blockbuster albums and embarked on sell-out concert tours for over three decades—and the largest concert promotion company in the world, Live Nation. This thesis is an examination of how these and other forces have aligned to produce and execute the most impressive concert production and single most successful concert tour in history. During the course of this study, the findings will prove that no other concert promotion firm or artist of the current era could match the accomplishments of the 360-Degree tour, possibly for the rest of time.

    In an examination of the industry as a whole both past and present, this study illustrates that the concert industry has consolidated into companies that can coordinate massively successful tours across the globe single-handedly—a first for the industry. It will also explain that the industry has undergone a period of steady growth in the past decade, but has encountered turbulent times in the past few years. Also, this section will list the most successful tours of the past. These details give the 360 tour historical and economic context from which the accomplishments can be fully appreciated.

Click here to download pdf of the full article (25 pgs, 2.1 mb)