Long article from Economist
The growing clout of middle-aged and old listeners extends beyond recorded music. “Many of the acts selling out stadiums are old,” says Rob Hallett, the president of international touring at AEG Live. The top three American touring acts last year were U2 (average age: 49), Bruce Springsteen (61) and a double bill of Billy Joel (61) and Elton John (63). And that raises a worrying question: what happens when their knees give out?
Many of the acts that now draw huge crowds emerged in an era of multi-album record contracts, lavish marketing and radio payola. They built their brands gradually, overcoming the occasional lousy album. They “invaded” other countries when they felt the time was right. As a result, they have legions of fans who are prepared to stump up for concert tickets. Because their songs appeal to several generations of listeners, they are attractive to advertisers and TV programme-makers. The young dreamers in shows like “The X-Factor” commonly perform songs that are more than a quarter of a century old.