Analysis of U2’s Concert Performance Location Choice: Application of an Adapted Gravity Model

  •  Joel Deichmann    


The rock band U2, based in Dublin, Ireland, has become one of the most successful touring acts in the history of live music. Treating U2 as a global business enterprise, this paper introduces a gravity approach to understanding performance location selection. A brief descriptive analysis of the band’s tour geography is followed by the presentation of results from linear regression models that evaluate the choice of countries for live performances. Over 33 years, U2 played more than one thousand six hundred concerts at locations in 40 countries. Having completed several world tours with multiple legs, U2 has developed a clear geographical circuit, performing mainly in Europe, North America, and Oceania. Findings from the models indicate that the band is attracted primarily by market size (presence of large urban areas) and market strength (income). In addition, the band’s location choices appear to be governed by cultural proximity. Counter to expectations, neither geographical distance nor country risk appear to play a significant role in the selection of tour destinations, especially in the most recent U2360 tour of 2009–2011. This interdisciplinary paper demonstrates the application of an adapted gravity approach--often employed in economics--to better understand music geography, an area traditionally dominated by cultural geographers.

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