Is there true demand for a Take That or Ronan Keating concert tour in the US?
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Is there true demand for a Take That or Ronan Keating concert tour in the US?

12 July 2014 13 Comments
This blog belongs to Radio Creme Brulee – an internet music radio station that broadcasts globally.

takethat-bandw“If Take That or Ronan Keating played in the US, they would easily sell out arenas in select cities”. This is the assertion of American fans of these artists. Take That and Ronan Keating are just examples of global stars that have a minimal footprint in the American pop culture. That being said, this list of “obscure only in America” artists is quite a long one. Noteworthy examples of people in this list include Robbie Williams, Poets of the fall, and Will Young. Despite their relative obscurity, their fans in the US insist that there is sufficient demand for these artists to do concert tours in the US. But can any of these people truly quantify the demand for American concert tours of their favorite artists? More importantly, can people truly assess the profitability of such concert tours? After all, the music industry is still very much a business and the bottom line does matter.

The management companies and record labels for artists such as Take That and Ronan Keating are convinced that these artists are NOT commercially viable live acts in the US. This assertion is based primarily on the fact that they have no exposure via terrestrial radio in the US. But is terrestrial radio the final word in terms of determining the lack of viability of a concert tour for a relatively obscure non-American artist in the US? Maybe not.

In this world of big data, it appears that the music industry displays the most resistance to leveraging data in making marketing and promotion decisions around musicians. Record labels are to blame for this. They continue to resort to “old world” approaches such as “focus groups” to figure out the marketability of their artists. Decisions are made primarily on gut instinct and are very often divorced from reality.

When deciding whether or not an act such as Take That or Ronan Keating is viable from a concert our perspective, the following questions need to be answered:

a. What is the market demand (in terms of potential ticket buyers) for acts such as Take That in the US and what cities is this demand concentrated in (if indeed there is a concentration)?

b. If there is market demand, how many shows can be put on and in which cities?

c. Can the tickets be priced in such a way that the tour is profitable? Depleted levels of demand on a per-city basis can make this a tough one.

Keating regrets bookRecord sales for these artists in the US is not a good proxy for demand since these days, most people (with the exception of absolute die-hard fans) are quite put off by the idea of buying “import CDs” at high prices by artists whose music is not released via digital stores in the US. Interestingly enough, this problem only exists for fans of a handful of major label artists from overseas. Fans of Indie artists from overseas do not suffer from this issue in the US. So given that record sales are inadequate and radio airplay on terrestrial radio is practically non-existent, what is the answer?

The answer can be summarized in two words – “social data”. In the last few years, companies like The NextBigSound have proved that a music listener’s activity on a social network (especially as it relates to his or her favorite artists) is a stronger predictor of music consumption patterns than responses to old-world research approaches such as focus groups and surveys. It is absolutely mindboggling that record companies do not dig into this pool of social data to make any of their decisions about their artists. Here is the best part of this data. It is literally available to ANY of us.

Since we mentioned Take That and Ronan Keating, we will do a deep dive on both to see what the true appetite is for a concert tour in the US.

One good starting source for this type of data comes from Facebook’s Audience Insights. A week ago, we took a peek at Facebook’s audience insights to get a true sense of what Take That’s American fanbase looked like on Facebook. Here is an audience profile (created from Facebook’s “Audience Insights”) of the Take That fan in the US.

Take That - demographic profile

The snapshot reveals that there at least a 100,000 active American Take That fans on facebook alone. This does not mean that there are a 100,000 ticket buyers for a Take That concert but it means that even a moderate fraction of this number is fairly substantial and could potentially justify a tour. But this is 100,000 active fans across the US. To say this number justifies a show in the US assumes that people are willing to travel within the country to attend a show – and that very well might be true but certain assumptions would have to be made to model out the demand in the few locations that Take That could potentially perform at. For the sake of argument, let us assume that around 90% of these folks are potential ticket buyers, that gives us a US market size of 90,000 ticket buyers.
Now, the next question becomes where in the US Take That could potentially perform AND get a large enough crowd to be profitable. The snapshot below shows a geographical breakout of Take That’s fanbase in the US.

Take That - top US cities

There appears to be no concentration of the fanbase. It is pretty dispersed with a maximum of 8% being based in Houston. This is a noteworthy surprise. One would expect this fanbase to be predominantly in the country’s media centers and nowhere else. Assuming that the 90,000 ticket buyers have the same geographic breakdown shown in the snapshot above, one could expect the following turnouts for a Take That show in the following cities:

Houston: 7200 tickets

New York City: 6300 tickets

Los Angeles: 6300 tickets

A 5000-seat venue is the bare minimum for a Take That show to be viable. It must be emphasized that this would be a pure music show with no theatrics of the sort that Take That is known for in their stadium performances. In a nutshell, a Take That mini-tour is absolutely viable in the US – with a focus on Houston, New York City, and Los Angeles guaranteeing a positive return on investment. The demand numbers above assume that no one will travel from other cities within the US to watch Take That – which we can safely say is a false assumption. Odds are, people WILL travel from other cities to watch one of the greatest live pop acts.

Here is an audience profile (created from Facebook’s “Audience Insights”) of the Ronan Keating fan in the US.


The snapshot above reveals that the overall market demand is substantially lower than that of Take That. The lower number of 35,000 American fans is the universe of ticket buyers that Ronan Keating’s record label has to work with. Let us assume that of this universe, 32,000 of these fans are potential ticket buyers. More importantly, let us assume that this mass of 32,000 fans is split geographically based on the location profile below for Ronan Keating fans.



This snapshot is noteworthy because of Ronan Keating’s San Diego fanbase – which appears to be larger than that of any other fanbase in the country of his. Based on the stats above, here is the demand for Ronan Keating in the following cities:

San Diego: 4480 ticket buyers

Chicago: 2560 ticket buyers

Los Angeles: 2560 ticket buyers

For Ronan Keating, anything less than a 2000-seat venue might not really work or have a positive ROI. Despite the demand for Ronan Keating being substantially lower than that of Take That, there is commercial viability for a limited number of shows in the US for Ronan Keating. Some critics might say that we have not factored in costs and pricing of tickets and hence there is a very basic gap in our assessment of commercial viability. As we had stated earlier, the shows will be centered around music – no dancers, no special effects, no theatrics. We have used the viability of comparable artists playing in venues that can hold between 2000 and 10,000 people and are assuming that the pricing for Take That and Ronan Keating’s shows will be similar to that of those shows.

As mentioned before, this data is public. Record companies do not have to work hard to access this data. Their modeling standards and assumptions to calculate the size the market in the US might be different from the ones we have used but the source data is there and it is easily accessible.

Last, but not least, Take That and Ronan Keating are absolutely viable as commercial live acts in the US and we have the numbers to prove it! Please feel free to add your ideas or comments in the “comments” section below.


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13 Responses to "Is there true demand for a Take That or Ronan Keating concert tour in the US?"

  1. Lynne Munson says:

    This is great! it just needs to get into the right hands. How can fans help to make this happen?

  2. @Lynne: Thank you so much. This just needs to be sent to the management companies of both Take That and Ronan Keating. They might have to pitch the idea to the record labels since the labels are the ones that typically fund the tour.

  3. camila martínez says:

    @willowengirl. : Really i hope some day make come true this .. That really also somehow can be so benefic to the fan base in southamerica that for some reason is hard to arrives to uk. If this someday could be true really will be a huge opportunities for a lot fans who still waiting for them for decades . Good luck to both fans . But even like ronan keating since his been part of boyzone . Well i know from long time too . But Obviously as thatter fan preffer my uk boys . Enjoy this article. Thanks so much for take us on mind Because really is so hard being fans if u live so far away of them . But thanks of that the love is more stronger and real.

  4. @Camila: Thanks so much for the comment. The data shown above clearly proves that there is demand for Take That and Ronan Keating in the US from a concert perspective. I just hope the music business starts making at least some decisions based on social data – which is quite revealing.

  5. Lydia says:

    If the record companies are iffy on doing tours in America, may I strongly suggest doing a pay-per-view event to gauge interest? There is a large fan base here in Dallas, Texas. Of all ages. My daughter is 16 and she positively loves Take That. I hate having to buy expensive import cds and concert items from ebay UK. (But being a hardcore fan, I still do.) Those shipping charges are killer. If we had a pay-per-view event in the USA, we’d at least have the option to rent out a theater for fan meets. Networking is easier these days between Thatters due to social media. Wake up, record companies! There is money to be made in the USA.

  6. @Lydia: I think “pay per view” events can be used as a factor to gauge interest. We made this post almost a year ago. I am not sure how much the stats in terms of social data have changed between then and now. Given that Houston was considered viable, I don’t see any reason why Dallas wouldn’t be either. Of course, in the absence of radio play etc, social data speaks volumes. Unfortunately, the music industry seems one of the most resistant to use data to make decisions – and the loss is theirs. At least now, with the entire TT catalog being made available on iTunes USA, the need for import CDs has gone away. There is money to be made in the US for the following reasons:

    a. It is the world’s biggest consumer market for music.
    b. The data proves conclusively that shows in the US WILL be profitable.

    Acts with less of a media footprint in the US have been able to do large shows here so there is no reason why Take That cannot. Just out of curiosity, how did you heard of our radio station and radio blog?

  7. Lydia says:

    I actually followed a link from my twitter account. The USA Thatters are worked up because we may be able to have the Take That Live in Cinemas shows here in America.It’s the second best thing to having the guys put on a live show. We all await with baited breath to hear our cities announced. We’ve been networking with ScreenLive to find willing theaters in our cities. It has not been easy as the major theaters all have been reluctant to book the show. But we continue trying, we won’t be denied, lol. Love your station because of the music you play. Especially Take That.

  8. @Lydia: So glad you found us via a twitter link. We launched back in 2007 because we felt there was a huge gap in terms of the presence of European artists on American radio. By the late 90s, our local music scene had become increasingly geocentric and we wanted to showcase a greater variety of music and demonstrate to the US public that there is immense European talent besides Adele and Coldplay. If you have listened to our station, please do take a few minutes to fill out our Listener Survey. We want to get better at what we do and we believe that the feedback of folks like you will help us in that endeavor. Thanks so much for the comments!

  9. April Swain says:

    I am one of those fans that would travel to see Take That. I am going to Chicago, from Colmbus Ohio to see the group at the cinema. At the time of release this was the closest,now one in Ohio, but I’m still willing to travel. If I had the money id go to England to see Take That. I never realized there are so many fans and growing. I do hope TT do concerts in the US soon.

  10. robin soon says:

    Hey Radio Creme Brulee Take That is coming to Vegas in 2017! How about that?

  11. gayle hutchinson says:

    While I’m a recent fan of Take That, I now have every cd, calendar,etc, and am planning a trip with a friend when Gary Barlow is doing his solo tour in 2018. I am on Twitter along with hundreds of Take That fans, and I can assure the promoters we would certainly fly where ever and when ever in the U.S. to see them. Maybe those that gauge the viability of TT filling venues should also tap into Twitter to get a sense of the activity and interest in this incredible band. I alone have introduced over 3 doz friends, family, as well strangers to Take That’s music. Many have purchased CD’s and DVD’s. No doubt Take that could fill several lrg venues as many of fans would purchase tickets to more than one concert, much as the fans do in the UK and across Europe; a fact also lost on promoters and record labels. There Must be a way to take the pulse of TT interest here in America…I certainly hope so!!!

  12. @robin: I was hoping it would happen. Needless to say, 2017 is almost over and no sign of Take That on this side of the pond. One can only hope!

  13. @gayle: Ticketing data would easily reveal who would travelers from overseas for a concert. Unfortunately, this data is not public and it is not clear whether ticket vendors like Live Nation or ticketmaster sell this information to promoters. This data is critical since while Twitter is indicative of fandom around an artist, it does not accurately predict willingness to travel overseas for a concert. Using twitter data to predict local demand for a show in the US is a useful tool. I personally have traveled to London twice for different concerts. In 2006, it was for George Michael, In 2015, it was for Simply Red. I was dying to watch Take That in 2011 when the five of them went on tour to promote the “Progress” album. Unfortunately, I was back in school at that time and could not take time off to travel. Just out of curiosity, how did you discover our radio station and blog? We would love to know.

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