Dixie Chicks Tour Struggling

Despite very strong sales of their new album, the Dixie Chicks are struggling to sell concert tickets.

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.

In contrast, the band’s new album, “Taking the Long Way,” sold 526,000 units in its first week, according to Nielsen Soundscan, the third-largest sales week of 2006. The album logged a second week in the period ended June 4, according to sales data issued Wednesday. Despite those numbers, early ticket sales are clearly not meeting projections. The plug was pulled on public on-sales for shows in Indianapolis (August 23), Oklahoma City (September 26), Memphis (September 27) and Houston (September 30) because of tepid pre-sales in a national promotion with Target stores. The Memphis show has been pulled off the route and the status of the shows in Indianapolis, Houston and Oklahoma City remains uncertain. Industry speculation has it that much or all of the tour may be postponed. At the very least, it is likely routing and capacity will be reconfigured.

Early ticket sales for this tour are in marked contrast to the Chicks’ last proper outing in 2003 when a national on-sale moved some 867,000 tickets the first weekend, and second shows were added in several markets. The Chicks ended up with the top-grossing country tour of 2003 at $62 million.

But not all shows on this tour are below projections. “We’re happy (with our on-sale) and comparatively seem to be ahead of most,” says John Page, Global Spectrum COO/GM at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, where the trio is booked for July 25. A second date was added for the Air Canada Center in Toronto, where the first show sold out in eight minutes. “Canada loves the Chicks,” says ACC booking director Patti-Ann Tarlton.

Needless to say, the primary fan base for country music is not Philadelphia or Toronto. (Canadian k.d. lang used to joke that when she told people she sang country music they’d ask, “Which country?”)

via Kevin Aylward

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Fersboo says:

    Thanks for the post JJ. I wonder if your commenters from last week that were braying on about the Dixie Chicks release @ #1 have an interesting conspiracy story to explain their demise.

  2. LJD says:

    Music sucks. Nobody cares what they think.

  3. Bithead says:


  4. anjin-san says:

    A lot of tours have struggled the last few year, among them Eric Clapton & Sheryl Crow. Britney Spears had such poor sales she faked an injury to cancle her entire tour without having to admit she could not sell many tickets.

    Tour problems have more to do with overpricing and Clear Channel’s attempt to gain a monopoly on concert venues then anyone’s politics. Its pretty clear none of the above posters knows anything about the music industry, but it is hardly a suprise

    I guess this rather silly line of discussion is more important then discussing say the cut in anti-terror funding to San Francisco and New York (no monuments here folks).

  5. McGehee says:

    I guess this rather silly line of discussion is more important then discussing say the cut in anti-terror funding to San Francisco and New York (no monuments here folks).

    What, Anjin? No comment from you about Zarqawi?

  6. anjin-san says:


    Hopefully Zarqawi’s death will help improve the rather grim situation in Iraq. We have been told we have “turned the corner” there so many times that I will believe it when I see it. After all, the back of the insurgency was broken at Fallujah, no?

    I am rather more interested in the capture or death of Bin Laden so that there can be a measure of justice for the thousands of Americans he killed. This does not seem to be a priority of Bush or the neocons.

  7. Bithead says:

    So, the theme developing in your comments is ‘diversion’, eh, Anji?

  8. ICallMasICM says:

    A-S is the Pavlov’s Dog of commenting.

    It’s not important
    But so and so did
    What about
    Change the subject
    But Bush sucks

  9. LJD says:

    Not surprising some people don’t understand in this day and age how to conduct a business. If you want to sell records and sell out shows, you give your fans the music and show they want. You don’t use your early success as a soapbox for your stupid ideas, especially when it alienates your traditionally conservative fan base. Duh.

  10. anjin-san says:


    What part of my explanation of problems the chicks and others have had selling concert tickets did you fail to grasp? I can use shorter words if it will help…

    At any rate, its pretty certain youall will run like the wind from the subject of Bin Laden unless Bush happens to be once again trotting him out while in the midst of a political crisis…

  11. anjin-san says:


    The chicks could probably easily buy you our of petty cash, but if it makes you feel good to talk about what bad businesswomen they are, well by all means go for it.

    About 2 minutes of research will show that the live concert business has been in serious trouble since the summer of ’04, and that much bigger acts then the Dixie Chicks have had to cancel or downscale tours.

  12. Fersboo says:

    Yeah, concert sales have been off, that’s the ticket!

    Per Billboard, 9 of the top 10 concerts in North America during the period between May 19, 2006 and June 3, 2006 took place in the US. Those 9 concerts were actually 23 shows (Billboard groups together all shows within a given venue as a concert) and those 23 shows grossed $ 32,733,000.

    YES $32,733,000!

    Those poor Dixie Chicks can’t sell concert tickets in that kind of a market.

  13. anjin-san says:


    News flash, 32 million is not a lot of money in the entertaiment industry.

    If a summer movie takes in only 32 mil its opening weekend it is considered a borderline flop.

    In the current marketplace, major acts are consistently having trouble selling out or even doing reasonably well in suburban ampitheaters.

    Come back when you are better informed…

  14. Fersboo says:

    Fersboo wrote:

    9 of the top 10

    Anjin wrote:

    News flash, 32 million is not a lot of money in the entertaiment industry.

    Someone’s reading skills need improvement! The $32 Million were for 23 shows that were grouped into 9 concerts over a two week period.

    consistently having trouble selling out

    Of the 23 shows in that group of 9 out of the Top 10, 17(or 73.9%) were sold out.



  15. anjin-san says:


    Since you are now an expert on the music industry, share with us what type of venues are you discussing? Stadiums? Arenas?
    Suburban Ampitheaters? Theaters?

    What percentage of the venues in question are owned by clear channel?

    Is 73% considered a strong number by historic standards? What was the percentage at this time last year? Over a five year period?

    How is sales performance in the sub top 10 group? I would suspect the chicks fall somewhere in the other 90% How are they performing in comparison to lateral acts?

  16. Fersboo says:

    Anjin, would you like some cheese to go with your wine as you listen to your 499,999 copies of the Dixie Chicks’ new album?

  17. anjin-san says:

    Actually I think the chicks are mediocre at best. Their version of Landslide sucked, the Tori Amos cover is much, much better. I simply like their stand on free speech, something that pisses of the Bushites who seem to despise the constitution.

    BTW Fersboo, my pointing out that you don’t know what you are talking about does not constitute “whining”, but I accept that your turning to insults amounts to conceeding such…

  18. anjin-san says:


    Thats your comeback? LOL, I accept your concession…

  19. Fersboo says:

    Not a concession, but as I don’t work in the record industry, I can’t answer your inane questions. I was just pointing out some obvious flaws to your early comments.

    I’ve got a nice American cheese, or would you like something limper for your wine?

  20. Randal Robinson says:

    A lot of tours have struggled the last few year, among them Eric Clapton & Sheryl Crow. Britney Spears had such poor sales she faked an injury to cancle her entire tour without having to admit she could not sell many tickets.

    Kenny Chesney is coming to Seattle this month and is playing Qwest Field which is a 60,000+ stadium where the Seattle Seahawks play. He hasn’t had trouble selling tickets. Of course he also hasn’t told his fan base he’s too good for them either.

  21. anjin-san says:


    Something tells me you allready have the “something limp” angle covered.

    As for “inane questions” they are meaningful to anyone who understands business. But I will let you get back to flipping burgers.

  22. LJD says:

    Just continue to ignore reality Anjin. Just rely on your expert (music industry) opinion. Your argument is Sheryl crow (washed up), Britney Spears (too busy with the enquirer), and Eric Clapton (was a great rocker but now singing easy listening)???
    How about U2 and Stones tickets you can’t get, and the fact that dumb kids are spending all their money on cRAP.
    Regardless of your theory, the Chicks stepped in it big time iwth their fans. Why is that so hard for you to accept?

  23. anjin-san says:


    Your argument is not really valid. Its like saying that if the average of the top 10 batters in the major leauges come out to .345, it is proof that major leauge hitters are having a great year in general. The Stones and Paul McCartney sell out quickly, but that is not the rule.

    The chicks have not toured for what, four years? Long time in the music industry. Hootie and the Blowfish went from unknown to mega-act to washed up in that time.

    And I disagree with you about county music fans being anti free speech. Most of the county fans I know are pretty cool people.

  24. LJD says:

    I suppose I could at least get you to understand my argument if I wrote it on a brick and..

    Oh, the hell with it.

  25. anjin-san says:


    The truth, as they say, probably lies somewhere in between our arguments.

    But then you are a Bush man right? Yur either for us or against us…

  26. MEH says:

    The new dixie chicks CD is great.

    Their CD sales prove that. I can honestly say that tracks 1,2,3,5,6,14 are some of my favorite songs that I have heard produced in the last year or so. They a fabulous musicians and I typically can’t stand to listen to country music (except Neil Young, he’s about the only country artist that I care for).

    The problem with the dixie chicks tour is simple. The cost of tickets is too high. I won’t pay $75 plus fees to see them. I would really love to see them too. But clearly clear channel and Ticketmaster have destroyed the concert going experience in the USA. I am surprised anyone in the country is so damned music crazy that they would spend $200 (two tickets plus extras) for a 2 hour experience with nothing but memories and maybe a tee shirt to show for it.

    Give me a $30 ticket price and I’d have been first in line for my dixie chick tickets