Robert Smith of The Cure chose to battle the scourge of skyrocketing concert ticket prices for the band’s recent North American «Shows of a Lost World» tour, and Billboard reports that despite (or maybe even because of) that, they had the most lucrative North American tour of their entire career going back to the late 1970s, grossing $37.5 million across 35 dates.
That’s a little more than $1 million per show, which would be remarkable under any circumstances, but it’s even more so thanks to the fact that the band took the tour as an opportunity to fight alleged price-gouging by ticket brokerage services like Ticketmaster, slashing the price to attend to an average of $68.54, some 37 percent less than the average price of artists on Billboard’s list of the top 50 touring acts for midyear 2023. That list includes The Cure, and only one other band on it (The 1975) had a lower average ticket price over the course of their respective tour.
Robert Smith’s fight against unaffordable concerts generated a lot of publicity which could have helped them pack venues that might have had a little more empty seats under different circumstances. Or you could look at it another way, which is that the band left millions on the table. In any case, there don’t seem to be too many complaints about how the tour went, except maybe from the people at Ticketmaster and other companies.
Before this summer, The Cure’s previous highest-grossing North American tour was in 2016, when they took in a reported $18 million, a figure they more than doubled this time around. And that’s not all due to inflation, either, since if you break it down by number of tickets sold, the more recent tour’s attendance figure of roughly 547,000 tickets sold handily overtakes the 402,000 tickets they sold back during their 1992 tour, much closer to the band’s commercial heyday.