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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And the number of people going to concerts this year is down from last year. That's according to the annual survey released by Pollstar, which tracks the concert business.

NPR's Zoe Chace reports that many high profile acts struggled to fill seats.

ZOE CHACE: It's not bad for everyone - the rich are getting richer. People who make money touring make a lot of money. Exhibit A...

(Soundbite of song, "Living on a Prayer")

BON JOVI (Rock Band): (Singing) Oh, living on a prayer.

CHACE: Bon Jovi made the most money from their concerts, with a take of more than $200 million. Not just in North America, but everywhere. Followed closely by...

(Soundbite of music)

CHACE: AC/DC, U2, and Lady Gaga.

But for pretty much everyone else, it was a lousy year, with an overall 12 percent drop in concert revenue. Even in the summer, the time when musicians usually make most of their money, many big-name performers cancelled tour dates, pop star Rihanna was one, or cancelled their entire tours, like Christina Aguilera.

What happened? This year, some stars got a little too big for their britches, as Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni, tells it.

Mr. GARY BONGIOVANNI (Editor, Pollstar): 2009 was not a bad year for the concert business. Based on that, and the expectation that the economy would improve in 2010, a number of artists decided to go back to pushing the envelope.

CHACE: Artists like the Jonas Brothers, who returned to markets they had just played, and charged more for tickets. People wouldn't buy them. As a result, some promoters started heavily discounting tickets just before the show to fill seats.

Mr. BONGIOVANNI: It really undermines your business, because you're training people to wait for the sale that's going to come later and not buy the tickets when they first go on sale, in addition to that, the hard-core fans that do buy tickets when they first go on sale and pay full price tend to get alienated.

CHACE: So next year there might be a correction to 2010's apparently inflated ticket prices. But that won't help Pink Floyd fans, who were willing to pay $126 to see the 30th anniversary of "The Wall."

Zoe Chace, NPR News.

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