So, we were going to crunch the numbers on a hypothetical Led Zeppelin reunion tour, but then we realized that we became music journalists largely because we’re terrible at math, so we decided to let someone else do it for us. Via WXRT:
The he-said/he-said doesn’t instill much confidence in the odds, but let’s think in hypotheticals for a second. How much could a Led Zeppelin reunion tour gross? The potential is pretty much endless – 20 million people applied for 16,000 tickets priced at £125 each in September 2007, with proceeds reportedly going to charity (the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund). According to 2007 exchange rates, that’s about $250 per ticket before inflation – a standard, possibly even fair price for a show of that magnitude. Assuming nothing has changed regarding the demand (the concert’s live album, Celebration Day, has sold 366,715 copies after a couple months – trust us, there’s still demand), there’s a potential to make $5 billion – IF and only if Zeppelin played shows for each and every one of those 20 million people, who would all pay the flat ticket price of $250. But like we said, that would take hundreds, possibly thousands of concerts, so that’s not happening.
So let’s be slightly realistic instead, despite the fact that this entire pursuit is not. Let’s say Page, Plant and Jones (with Jason Bonham on drums) launch a 10-date tour in major arenas around the world. It could easily be more, a lot more – when Page and Plant toured in 1995 and 1996 as a duo, they played nearly 125 shows on four continents. But let’s consider the fact that the guys are older and it was tough enough to get them in the room to play one show in honor of their beloved Atlantic Records boss, Ahmet Ertegun. We’ll just go with 10 shows.
Let’s assume Zeppelin’s ticket prices are generally comparable with those of the Rolling Stones, who charged anywhere from $145 to $1500 (for VIP) for tickets to their 2012 shows, according to Reuters. Zeppelin could easily fill the same size venues at the Stones, so logic and history suggests they would. The Stones’ 144-concert A Bigger Bang Tour, the second-highest-grossing tour of all-time, grossed $558,255,524, according to Billboard. With inflation considered, that sum is equivalent to $625,719,239 in 2013. Divide that by 144 (the number of shows): $4,345,272 gross per show, on average, with inflation considered. Multiply that by ten shows: $43,452,720. With that few number of shows, Zeppelin likely wouldn’t crack even the top 100 highest-grossing concert tours. Would they play 100-some shows like U2 (who would the highest-grossing-tour honor) and the Stones? Ha!
They go on to say that, based on the Stones’ $6-million a show take from their recent four show stand in New York and London, Zep could easily get $7-million per appearance.