News — May 21, 2015 at 1:56 pm

The Asian Leg of Katy Perry’s ‘Prismatic’ tour made $20 million in ticket sales in 12 days


In 2012 Katy Perry bought her “California Dreams” tour to the region, playing just two shows in Indonesia and the Philippines – a final pit stop at the end of a gruelling tour schedule. Fast forward to 2015 and between April and May, Perry played 12 dates across eight countries bringing the zany colourful world she’d created for her “Prismatic” tour to more than 165,000 fans. The box office for the tour? A staggering total of in excess of $US 20 million. 


It was an incredible success for Katy, but more broadly, showed the increasing viability and focus on Asia as a tour destination for Western artists. In an interview at the Music Matters conference in Singapore, Jay Marciano, Chief Operating Officer of AEG Worldwide and Chief Executive Officer for AEG Live gave some insights into live music across South East Asia. His company have a portfolio of in excess of 100 arenas and concert halls across the globe, regularly tour artists like Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and of course Katy Perry globally and are responsible for running some of the most iconic festivals on the planet like Coachella. It’s fair to say that he knows music and when he speaks, people listen.


Asia has not always been an easy market to crack for Western artists but the landscape is changing. In terms of artists revenue from touring “60 – 70 percent of income was generated out of North America, it used to be 30 – 35% out of Europe and maybe 5% out of Asia.” Marciano said. This figure across Asia is now looking more like 15% which was “not the case 10 years ago or even 3 years ago.” Thanks to the successes of acts in the past there has been a clear prototype established. “A lot of these young artists have benefited from 50 years of rock and roll. They can look at those artists that have sustained international careers for 50 years. They can look at Elton John, they can look at Paul McCartney” he continued.


The key is for artists to tour Asia successfully is to “want to have an international career (and be) willing to make the time,” he said, even if that means forsaking alternate, sometimes easier opportunities in the short term. Early tour dates into Asia are likely to do so at expense to other, more profitable stops in Europe or North America but there is a growing group of performers that have embraced internationalism and identified Asia as a group of territories that can further their career and longevity as artists. Indeed it has been shown that success in the region once is often repeatable. The artists that have spent the time establishing themselves in the market “will be back, and be back for the rest of their careers” Marciano said, referencing Metallica’s most recent tour across Asia after only touring the region for the first time in 2013.


Katy Perry performing in Glasgow as part of her Prismatic tour

Marciano describes Katy Pery as one of those artists that are “willing to put the work in, willing to come over… early on, probably at expense to them. Despite what we’re paying these artists as promoters, these artists are probably losing money by the time they bring the show over on their early forays.”  But with great risk comes great reward – $20 million worth of rewards to be exact. The staggering success of Perry’s latest Prismatic tour shows that artists that put the effort into the region can see the benefits come back to them, a fact clearly clearly evidenced by Perry’s Philippines performance which had almost twice the audience of any other venue in the South East Asian leg of her tour. By almost every stretch of the imagination the tour was a resounding success, with one minor (major) exception in Taiwan that may or may not have meant that Perry isn’t able to return to perform on the Chinese mainland.



Perry performing in Glasgow as part of her Prismatic tour

It’s not just Perry that has her eyes keenly fixed on Asia. In the same way that K-pop has infiltrated western airwaves through the successes of bands like Big Bang and Girls’ Generation, Western pop stars have identified Asia as a growth market and in increasing numbers, are adding the region to their tour schedule. In just the past few months recent breakout stars like Ed Sheeran, Meghan Trainor and Demi Lovato have played whilst the Backstreet Boys and Boyzone have recently embarked on tours of Asia for the first time, providing a healthy dose of pop nostalgia for an older fanbase. Avril Lavigne even adapted lyrics in her chorus to Mandarin so the crowd could sing along on a recent tour to China. An increasing demand for Western pop music, a growing middle class and higher levels of disposable income in the region has created a perfect storm and these high profile acts are determined to ride this wave.


So can Asian fans look forward to seeing more of their favourite acts into the future? It seems that with strong financial incentive for performers to come and a market willing to pay to see their favourite acts there is no doubt this trend will continue but the clearest indicator is when Marciano was quizzed on whether, in the next one to three years, there is the possibility that Katy Perry will be able to perform 20 shows? “No doubt. I think she could have done more than the 12 we did this time.”