The Liberal Country Music Fan

Welcome to the Liberal Country Music Fan blog. Life sometimes gets a bit Blue for us country music fans on the Left. With any luck, this blog will provide a home and a voice to us Roosevelt-lovin' Rednecks. It'll be our "Big Blue Note".

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Billboard: Dixie Chicks Concert Sales Well Below Expectations

Despite a two-week (so far) run at the top of the U.S. album sales chart, the Dixie Chicks are struggling to sell-out many of the dates of their Accidents and Accusations tour, Billboard reports.

The tour’s Memphis show has been pulled off the schedule due to low sales, and the shows in Indianapolis, Houston, and Oklahoma City “remain uncertain”. According to the Billboard article, sales are “far below expectations” and “industry speculation has it that much or all of the tour may be postponed. At the very least, it is likely routing and capacity will be reconfigured.” Ticket sales began last weekend, and the tour is scheduled to begin on July 21 in Detroit.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel verifies that the Chicks are re-routing at least some of their tour:
“The Chicks are re-routing their summer concert tour, which likely will change the date of their Bradley Center concert originally planned for Aug. 13, a spokeswoman for the venue said Tuesday afternoon...Bradley Center officials were awaiting further information from the band Tuesday.”
Although the Journal-Sentinel has confirmed the re-routing and the Chicks have postponed on-sale dates for many of the other shows that have yet to go on sale, I’m still suspicious of a bit of extremism in Billboard’s article. The tour seems to be averaging just under 50 percent sold-out in major markets and according to the Tennessean, “half-sold is a pretty good opening weekend of ticket sales for an arena show.” Of course, the Chicks have big expectations to meet; their last tour was the top-grossing tour of 2003. Also, the article reports that the tour is doing worse than 50 percent in minor markets.

There are some bright spots in the bad news from Billboard. Officials at venues in Philadelphia and Toronto, for instance, are happy with sales figures. A second date was added in Toronto after the Chicks sold out the first show in 8 minutes. The article quotes the Air Canada Center’s booking director as saying “Canada loves the Chicks.” In the less-positive-but-still-good-news department, an official at the GEC arena in Nashville told the The Tennessean that about half of the arena is sold out for the Chicks’ Oct. 3 show, but that he expects the show to eventually sell out. Prior to the “Incident” in 2003, the Chicks almost sold out the GEC in the first weekend.

The Tennessean reports that Wade Jensen, Billboard’s director of country charts is not surprised by the differential in CD and concert sales.
"There's absolutely no radio penetration on anything for this new album," Jensen said. "Here's an act off the radio and without a studio album for three years, so I can't say that's entirely surprising [that they have slow concert ticket sales]."
It will be interesting to see how this report reverberates through the country music and general media. The story has already made the front page of Country Weekly’s website.

The sources for the Billboard article are anonymous, and the report is definitely preliminary. Nobody associated with the Chicks have commented yet. Liberal Country Fan will keep you updated.

In the mean time, you can find out where to buy tickets to the nearest Dixie Chicks show at the Chicks' website. Also, take some time to read some of Liberal Country Fan's recent Chicks coverage:
  1. Another week at the top for the Dixie Chicks
  2. Wal-Mart don't lie (when it comes to country music)
  3. Video from the Dixie Chicks' stellar Larry King interview
  4. Dixie Chicks new album round up

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