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Dixie Chicks Tour Problems:

While sales of the Dixie Chicks new album remain strong, ticket sales for their concert tour have been quite disappointing, Bilboard reports.

Initial ticket sales for the Dixie Chicks' upcoming tour are far below expectations and several dates will likely be canceled or postoned.

Ticket counts for the 20-plus arena shows that went on sale last weekend were averaging 5,000-6,000 per show in major markets and less in secondaries, according to sources contacted by Billboard. Venue capacities on the tour generally top 15,000.

I suppose it is one thing to support the Dixie Chicks by buying their album, quite another to go to a show. The Chicks might miss their traditional fan base after all.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Dixie Chicks Tour Problems:
  2. Dixie Chicks Hit No. 1:
  3. Sunday Song Lyric:
BT:
Maybe they should change their name to The New England Chicks.
6.9.2006 8:46am
tefta (mail):
Perhaps album sales are inflated as are book sales for the Clinton's and other media darlings.
6.9.2006 9:00am
Cornellian (mail):
CNN has a similar story, and includes this point:

"But the band have encountered no problems in Canada.
Tickets for a Toronto appearance sold out in just eight minutes, and a second date has been added."

Their comments probably helped them in Canada.
6.9.2006 9:25am
BikeGuy (mail):
"But the band have encountered no problems in Canada."

As I recall, Jerry Lewis was considered a comedy genius in France. Maybe we are just uncivilized...
6.9.2006 9:29am
Michael B (mail):
Vacant minds. Voluble PR machines.

More importantly, Federer has evened his semi-final match at 1/1 and controlling the third set 4/2. Federer/Nadal, Sunday, please.
6.9.2006 9:48am
Tennessee Lamb:
Is it the missing fanbase, or the missing airplay? Most likely it is some combination of the two.
6.9.2006 9:56am
Marcus1 (mail) (www):
When were they last selling out concerts? Is this supposed to be a result just of their comments? Need more info.

I'd agree, though, that somebody like me is more likely to check out their album for political reasons, but still not so likely to go to a concert.
6.9.2006 10:17am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
My gut feeling, given the sort of names I keep hearing them called in more conservative venues, is that they have become politically incorrect on the right - and I think that means that a significant part of their former fan base are now unwilling to spend the money to go see a concert, and, probably almost as importantly, admit to their conservative friends that they went. Buying one of their albums though, or sneaking it onto your iPod, are significantly less public, and, thus, may be part of why they haven't suffered.
6.9.2006 10:52am
David A. Smith (mail):
Even presuming both phenomena are accurate reflections of the national mood, it's possible to reconcile them as a shift in the consumer base:

The new consumer base is liberals who are intrigued to hear the pugnacious lyrics and see if they like the sound. They buy the album.

The old consumer base is conservatives who are darned if they're going to support the Chicks. They stay away from the concerts.

If so -- speculation alert! -- then the Chicks will have achieved one round of good album sales at the expense of destroying their long-term brand value.
6.9.2006 10:53am
CJColucci:
When do we get the series of posts about whether the Dixie Chicks' lyrics are fair, whether sexually harassing the Dixie Chicks is wrong because it turns them on against their will, or whether lesbian fans of the Dixie Chicks will try to "convert" them?
6.9.2006 11:04am
thegreatsatan (mail) (www):
If anything this just reinforces the "know your audience" point that the Dixie Chicks refused to accept. Crap on your countries President in a foreign land, then insult the fanbase that thrust you into the public eye. Neither are a recipie for long-term success. Sure you'll get far more media coverage than you deserve, but in the end the people that listened to you and made you famous are the ones you need to appeal to, and those people seem pretty pissed off.
6.9.2006 11:45am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Having, more than forty years ago, been on stage a couple of times, I can say that the experience, especially including the influence of audience energy, can be disorienting.

It takes self-discipline to stay with the program. It is a possibility that Maines, caught up in the cross-floodlights love, went too far in trying to ramp it up by, in effect, sucking up to the British audience. If true, they could either back down--which probably wouldn't work--or aggressively try to go the new direction.

On of the Chicks' early hits was "Travelin' Soldier", which included all the hot buttons. Before the football game "with Lord's Prayer said and the Anthem sang" and so forth. That market niche may not be narrow--country music is not only popular, it reinforces red-state values--but it sure is deep. Which is to say, it has some requirements. Loyalty is one of them. Country artists go to almost ridiculous lengths to demonstrate they are no different from or better than their audience. One observer said they are the nicest people to their fans of any genre of artist. The fans demand it. Bing Crosby was said to be able to walk through a crowd smiling cheerfully at everybody and making eye contact with none at all. Wouldn't work in country.
6.9.2006 12:05pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Nobody seems to have considered the possibility that the Album Sales numbers have been rigged or ginned up by record label or others making some kind of large volume deals that get counted as sales at first and then ignored by the media later when the unsold items are returned for credit to the retailer's/wholesaler's account.

I would bet the concert sales indicate the record sales numbers were handled by a former Enron accountant.

MICHAEL B,

A man after my own heart. Watching the Federer/Nalbandian match right now myself. I like Fed but I have to admit part of me doesn't want him to win the French and thereby possibily, in the future, eclipse Pete Sampras in the record books.

Says the "Dog"
6.9.2006 12:12pm
Steve:
Not only are many country stations declining to play the new album, many of them aren't even carrying advertising for the new tour. I don't know if you need to analyze the issue any deeper than that; obviously an absence of advertising on local country stations is going to depress ticket sales.
6.9.2006 12:14pm
toyguytn (mail):
Why should Country stations accept their advertisements? They insulted country fans and said they weren't comfortable in country music anymore. Let them buy time on the rock stations they feel comfortable with. That is if they have any money left afting buying up their own albums to inflate initial sales figures.
6.9.2006 12:33pm
Fan:
It is possible that people buy the new album but discover they do not like the Dixie Chicks' new sound. It could be a reflection of that, rather than feelings about their statements concerning Bush and the Iraq war.
6.9.2006 12:45pm
Buck Turgidson (mail):
The Chicks might miss their traditional fan base after all.
Good riddance to bad rubbish! Maybe they'll go to Anne Coulter appearances instead. There's a perfect match!
6.9.2006 12:46pm
Steve:
Why should Country stations accept their advertisements?

I don't think I was making a normative judgment. I was just explaining the likely cause of the decreased ticket sales.
6.9.2006 1:18pm
Julian:
Serious question: can someone explain the basis for expecting that a substantial chunk of their album sales is ideological supporters who wouldn't otherwise buy the album?

That leap of logic mystifies me. I'm basically sympathetic to their political sentiments, and I thought that the swarming of them by the echo chamber was . . . well, let's say unfair. But it hasn't vaguely occurred to me to buy their album in protest, or to support them through hard times. Who the heck thinks that way? Or, more importantly, listens to music on that basis?

I'm sure that some anecdotal examples can be found. But is the contention seriously that such purchases are significantly driving record sales? Doesn't that strike anyone as a *little* implausible? I don't really have any more sophisticated argument here than "come on." But really -- come on.
6.9.2006 2:02pm
Lawyer J:
I don't like the new album as much as their prior work. I'd have bought new Dixie Chicks material if it consisted of East Timorese funeral dirges, though, so I'm not too disappointed. I've bought my tix for the Detroit concert that kicks off the US tour. I'll hope it's heavy on material from Home, easily their best work. And if it's not too crowded, that's too bad for their wallets, but better for those of us who do go.
6.9.2006 2:06pm
Ken Arromdee (mail):
Who the heck thinks that way? Or, more importantly, listens to music on that basis?

It seems to me that the whole reason they made those statements in London was that they thought the London fanbase would listen to music on that basis. If so, expecting it to happen somewhere else too isn't a far stretch.
6.9.2006 2:32pm
Dean Wermer (mail):
The Chicks probably have a decent royalty rate, so album sales will generate income for them in addition to the advance they received. However, tour receipts and related tour merchandising are going to be a big part of their net income. A U.S. decline in tour receipts and tour merchandising is significant. However, their comments/controversy undoubtedly have goosed up their European profile and profitability to a decent extent for what would otherwise be a more geographically limited (U.S. and Canada) new country act. On balance, probably still a negative, since the U.S. country fan base would otherwise have supported the chicks for years and years. The pop/European market is more fickle.
6.9.2006 3:02pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
I like their music... If I paid for CDs, I'd buy their album. The album doesn't come with the between-songs commentary that you'd get if you went to a live show. Shut up and sing, eh?
6.9.2006 3:29pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Country artists believe they have to tour to support the album sales. It's the personal connection thing, I suppose. It is conceivable that the tour itself may not yield a major profit. Still, if it boosts album sales, it makes profit possible.

Fewer tours, fewer album sales. It remains to be seen whether that is true among the Chicks' new audience.
6.9.2006 3:40pm
Bobbie:
Can radio stations refuse to play the Dixie Chicks or refuse their advertisements for ideological reasons? I assumed they can't. Radio stations only exists thanks to a Government supported monopoly on the radio waves. Has this question been addressed before?

And why does it matter that they insulted the President on foreign soil? Why does that fact always get mentioned as if it is material. We live in a world where comments by famous people, no matter where they make them, get sent around the world almost instantaneously. Why should it matter if they were in London or Houston? If you believe, as the Dixie Chicks clearly do, that this war was incredibly misguided, don't you have a moral obligation to speak out?

Moreover, they've sold about one-third of the tickets to their concerts in less than a week. Shall we wait a bit longer before we consider them dead?

Finally, Adler, why do you assume that the Dixie Chicks will "miss their traditional fan base" simply because they might make less money? Has it crossed your mind that some people do things out of principle? (See, e.g., Pearl Jam.)
6.9.2006 5:37pm
BT:
Bobbie:
If their comments were soley for principle and not for money then why are there stories in the press (like the one above) about their having to cancel shows due to poor sales? Wouldn't they just go ahead a do the shows, damn the torpedos? I think it is fair to say that they have alienated their traditional base and now it seems they are in a rebuilding process trying to win over a new base. As for radio play, just because you cut a record doesn't mean they have to play it on the air.
6.9.2006 6:16pm
Bobbie:
BT, what does cancelling shows have to do with whether they made their comments for principle or money?

And whoever said because you cut a record, the radio has to play it? I certainly didn't imply that. My question was whether a radio could decide not to play an album solely because of a political veto? (This is of course different than a station deciding not to play an album because their fans are up in arms about it. But several radio stations have been very candid about their reasons for not play the Dixie Chicks: the radio station ownership -- or the DJ -- doesn't like that they insulted Bush.)
6.9.2006 6:38pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
> And why does it matter that they insulted the President on foreign soil? Why does that fact always get mentioned as if it is material.

It's a "you don't criticize family to outsiders/suck up to strangers by criticising family" sort of thing. If you don't get that, you don't get a significant part of American culture. That part takes American identity seriously, even though a lot of Americans don't. That part makes up the bulk of the country music fan base.
6.10.2006 4:25am
Andy Freeman (mail):
> On of the Chicks' early hits was "Travelin' Soldier",

That wasn't an early hit. It came out in 2003, so it's actually one of their latest hits. It was on the album that they were touring for when they did their London thing. That was their previous album.

They're not an old group - they've only been big since 98 or so.
6.10.2006 4:34am
BT:
Bobbie:
You are correct I misread your comment on radio play- my bad. However, I think my other point stands, they cancelled several shows due to poor sales, what other reason could it be but monetary?
6.10.2006 9:22am
Ken Arromdee:
Can radio stations refuse to play the Dixie Chicks or refuse their advertisements for ideological reasons? I assumed they can't. Radio stations only exists thanks to a Government supported monopoly on the radio waves. Has this question been addressed before?

Copyright is also a government-supported monopoly, but it would not be constitutional to deny copyright to works which won't publish advertisements by the Dixie Chicks.
6.10.2006 12:47pm
Fub:
Bobbie wrote:
Can radio stations refuse to play the Dixie Chicks or refuse their advertisements for ideological reasons?
Yes. The FCC does not regulate content, except for station identification, sponsorship disclosure, mandatory EAS broadcasts, indecent speech, and the like. See 47 CFR Part 73 for details.
6.10.2006 3:26pm
Bobbie:
Fub, thanks.

Ken, that isn't an analogous situation.
6.10.2006 6:48pm
MnZ (mail):
Country fans don't seem to like prima donnas. They prefer down-home-girls. The Dixie Chicks (especially Maines) are certainly acting like prima donnas.

If one wanted to hear their music but not be subjected to the attitude, one would buy their CD and avoid their concert.
6.10.2006 10:04pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Andy. Thanks for the correction. It was the first--or possibly the one whose video had a Mexican theme for some reason--that I ever heard of theirs.

I guess I am not the measure of all things.

However, in my defense, I don't like to listen to country particularly, but I do like some of the videos. So if they weren't doing videos early on, I would have missed them.
6.11.2006 11:56am
lincoln (mail):

This is a serious problem for them.Music acts make less and less these days off recordings.And it's as easy to speculate on people who aren't traditional listeners of country music buying the CD as an expression of support for them as it is to say regular Chicks' buyerrs are still buying but unwilling to risk the flak of attending concerts.(I have several friends who bought Sen Clinton's book for reasons of political "support",not literature.
6.11.2006 11:24pm
mistermeade (mail):
How well are other concert tours selling right now? I think the industry as a whole has seen fewer people spending more money for bigger acts over the last few years. The bottom line seems okay, but I wouldn't call the future bright.

I hate the hassles of paying ticket prices, ticket fees, parking, idiotic entry rules, searches that promote concession sales rather than security, overpriced everything, the inability to have acts perform on time (yes, I know how important it is for the different acts to each have a different stage set-up,) the "security" personnel, and the idiots who make them necessary.

Also, the radio station boycott wouldn't be so easy to enact if it wasn't for the right-wing ownership of Clear Channel Communications and its control over a huge swath of what were once a series of independent radio stations that played whatever country they damn well pleased. Say what you will about the Dixie Chicks, I hate the conformity of commercial radio much more than all the excesses of its artists (of all political stripes).
6.12.2006 2:06am