It’s the number one revenue stream for artists. If they’re not getting anything from their record sales, they need to pay the mortgage somehow. Because there are so many acts out on the road, the productions have become massively expensive as well. When you go to a big show now, there is always some kind of gimmick – U2 had the enormous screen that they could walk through, Muse had drones, Coldplay had the wristbands that lit up and so on. Everyone has to come up with something that the audience has never seen before. While that is at the stadium and arena level, even for smaller venues, people’s costs have gone up. Ever since the O2 in London opened in 2007, all the other venues have had to spruce themselves up and that all costs money.
The record labels used to pay tour support and they could afford to make a loss on a tour if they sold 1m albums. That’s not the case now. It is the other way round – where you make an album to play on tour, rather than make an album and go on tour to promote it.