Virgin Music, the business partnership between Australian promoter Paul Dainty and Richard Branson that was forged last October to promote the Rolling Stones’ 50th Anniversary shows in London and America, has fallen through on a deal to present 18 upcoming shows as part of a North American tour.
According to Billboard, the Rolling Stones are set to announce a world tour as early as Easter – which will hopefully include Australian dates – starting with a series of 18 dates in the US, and according to sources earlier in the month, Virgin Music were set to promote the run.
It’s believed that the band were asking for a guarantee of $80 million for the new shows; Dainty and Branson’s group were unable to meet the financial terms, and now AEG Live has swooped in to promote the band’s upcoming shows.
Virgin Music had put up US$ 25 million to present the Rolling Stones’ 50th Anniversary shows in November last year, with two dates at London’s O2 Arena, two at New Jersey’s Prudential Center, and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The five concerts grossed a total of US$38,687,010 from selling 73,702 tickets to the events, selling out at all five shows despite the astronomical ticket prices.
While those are big numbers, the profits are not known given the production values and high costs of a tour from the British rock institution, while a syndicated pay-per-view live broadcast of one of the Newark, NJ shows that was part of the promotional deal with Virgin Music did poor business, according to industry reports. Dainty’s group were struggling to close a deal which would see the Rolling Stones getting a $20 million advance as well as “a line of credit from which they could draw down as the dates progressed.”
As for the 18 upcoming North American shows, according to Showbiz 411 (via TheMusic), Dainty’s group were struggling to close a deal which would see the Rolling Stones getting a $20 million advance as well as “a line of credit from which they could draw down as the dates progressed.” There was a delay in securing the credit deal and instead the Stones’ management called up AEG, who were able to confirm the band’s financial terms in “a 45 minute phone call.”
While Virgin Music have lost out on promoting the American tour, TheMusic alleges it has several sources suggesting that Australian dates for the Rolling Stones world tour would be handled by Paul Dainty and Branson’s promotional group.
But AEG also has a promotional presence in Australia through AEG Ogden, which handles Sydney’s Allphones Arena, Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, and Perth Concert Hall. Meaning they already have access to some of the country’s biggest stadia, suitable for a large-scale show from the Stones on an Australian visit.
The Rolling Stones have been teasing plans for extending last year’s 50th Anniversary celebrations for some time. Around the time they were promoting their latest career-spanning best-of, GRRR! and the Crossfire Hurricane documentary, Keith Richards was telling media he “wouldn’t be surprised” if they ended up expanding planned dates into a global trot.
Saying at the time: “Nobody’s actually given a heads up on that, but I don’t think that this band is gonna wind up all of this for four shows. I think they want to do something for the end of the year, and I think next year probably looks like it’s on.”
“Next year is the birth, but everybody around the world has decided a conception’s worth a celebration,” he joked about the 2012 celebrations.
Considering the piles of money that resulted from their last international outing, generating over US$ 550 million in support of 2005 album A Bigger Bang, it would certainly seem like an exercise in bad decision-making to resist a Rolling Stones world tour that would include a visit to Australia.