A concert tour is a series of concerts by an artist or group of artists in different cities, countries or locations. Often concert tours are named, to differentiate different tours by the same artist and associate a specific tour with a particular album or product (for example: Iron Maiden World Slavery Tour). Especially in the popular music world, such tours can become large-scale enterprises that last for several months or even years, are seen by hundreds of thousands or millions of people, and bring in millions of dollars (or the equivalent) in ticket revenues.
Different segments of longer concert tours are known as "legs". The different legs of a tour are denoted in different ways, dependent on the artist and type of tour, but the most common means of separating legs are dates (especially if there is a long break at some point), countries and/or continents, or different opening acts. In the largest concert tours it is becoming more common for different legs to employ separate touring production crews and equipment, local to each geographical region. Concert tours are often administered on the local level by concert promoters or by performing arts presenters. Usually, small concert tours are managed by a road manager whereas large concert tours are managed by a tour manager.
The major challenge in concert tours is how to move the performance's logistics from one venue to another venue, especially for a transcontinental tour. Autoweek magazine estimated 30 to 50 trucks required by Taylor Swift's 1989 World Tour to bring all the stage, sound equipment, instruments, props, and clothes. Tour logistics should be very organized and everything has to happen on time and in the right order as planned. Rock-It Cargo is one of the company that provided freight forwarding for some of the biggest names in music, such as Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, and The Police. Before the start of a tour, Rock-It Cargo had to move gear to a central location—either a rehearsal spot or the site of the first engagement. Then it arranged to transport whatever gear the band requires from one venue to the next. The company's vice president, Ed Butler, said "We use different freight modes—local trucking, cross-country trucking, air freight, and ocean freight. We also provide import, export, customs clearance, carnets (a document that allows a shipper—including a band—to move equipment across international boundaries and clear customs without paying duties)—everything a tour would need."
As of 2011[update], the highest-grossing concert tour of all time is U2 360 Tour, with gross revenues of $736,137,344. The second highest-grossing concert tour of all time is The Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang Tour, which earned approximately $558 million between 2005 and 2007. Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour, which earned $408 million in 2008 and 2009 was the highest-earning tour by a female artist. It is unlikely that new acts will top these numbers.
According to the 2014 report from Billboard Boxscore, four acts having made over US$ 1 billion in touring since 1990 were the Rolling Stones, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, and Bon Jovi. Global touring revenue reported to Billboard Boxscore exceeded $5.5 billion in 2016.
The mobility of concert tours requires a lot of costs, times, and energy. British singer Adele expressed her unhappiness of concert tours, saying "Touring is a peculiar thing, it doesn't suit me particularly well. I'm a real homebody and I get so much joy in the small things." A concert residency concept is offered as an alternative to performers. As opposed to the concert tour, the concert residency consists of multiple shows in one location.
- "What is a Concert Tour?". TourBeat. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
A concert tour is an opportunity for musicians to perform over longer periods of time across several cities, which are differentiated by segments known as "legs." Legs of tours of can be denoted by a series of dates that have no long break between them, by geographical regions or destinations, or by different opening acts. Each city or region may have the same opening act for each leg, or they may change opening acts at each city.
- Waddell, Ray (29 July 2011). "U2 Set to Wrap Biggest Concert Tour Ever". Billboard.com. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
- Pietrolungo, Silvio (April 9, 2007). "Rolling Stones Tour Grosses More Than Half A Billion". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-11-17.
- "Madonna Closes Tour In Tel Aviv;Second Highest Grossing Trek Of All Time". Billboard. September 2, 2009. Retrieved 2014-01-08.
- Johan, Jillian. "The Show Must Go On". aei. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
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