The gogoTier system provides a framework to make better sense of touring, which is helpful for managers, venues, promoters, artists – and anyone on the business side of the live industry. Live entertainment is a big topic, and it can be difficult to know what are reasonable expectations, and when to celebrate milestones.

By the Numbers

Going from averaging 500 capacity venues to a 1,000+ is a big deal. It's comparable to making the capacity jump from 1,200 to 6,000+ guests per show. The gogoTier system should inspire professionals in the live music industry to understand the scale of their work better by providing a frame of reference that's above all else, useful and practical.

It's Rock&Roll meets Data

It helps to know from the outset that venue size doesn't reflect the quality of the music. Hair raising awe can be found in stadiums as big as the NFL football ones and jaw-dropping outdoors amphitheaters, to University dance halls, to candlelit acoustic nights, all the way to a grungy basement venue in a questionable part of town. The magic doesn't ask for numbers, but numbers are helpful for logistics.

And we're talking logistics.

Making Better Sense of Touring

Touring has been growing quickly in the last two decades, and has become the money maker for musicians. How important you ask? It's not only the biggest source of income – but it dwarfs all others. Example: 88% of Beyoncé's revenuelast year came from touring.

Because of the breadth of artists and venues, what would be a good turnout for one act would be completely unreasonable for another. It's not fair to compare a global tour, to someone taking the train with the guitar on their backs to play in people's living rooms. Yet each is at the heart of their work.

with Promogogo

When we decided to make Promogogo, one of the first things we thought to ourselves was "how can we make sure it's fair, and we serve everyone?".

How can we make sure the data reflects 3,000 tickets sold for one act as the achievement that it is, whilst saying to management on the other side of the spectrum "guys. this one. step it up."?

The Truth is in the Data

After analysing a lot of data about tours and touring schedules, we made a discovery that has since become integral to making Promogogo. We know it's iconic – because the labels, managers, artists we've told about it, refer to artists by their tiers now. "Oh this one? gogoTier 4."

Without any manipulation of the data, a clear pattern emerged.

The size of the venues group bands and artists and even other live attraction into categories that have much more in common with each other than necessarily within the same music genre.

Introducing gogoTiers

Two artists building an audience for the first time have more in common with each other, even if they're in wildly different genres, than they do with artists in the same genre but a top tier act. They might look up to said artists, but the two stars also have more in common with each other than with the first-timers.

We call each bracket a gogoTier, and they are actually five. 1 being a living legend, 5 being a striving local. The tier system actually operates on a couple of different axes as well, because it doesn't just cover venue size, but also how often an act performs, and their range (local - national - international).

Building an initial audience tends to happen naturally in the artists near environment (locally), but as the act progresses, it starts to reach audiences regionally, nationally or even internationally.

Keep reading to find out details of the criteria.

The gogoTier System for Live Acts

gogoTier 1: can sell 20,000+ tickets per city
gogoTier 2: can sell 10,000+ tickets per city
gogoTier 3: can sell 5,000+ tickets per city

    ==== the profitable break ====

    gogoTier 4: can sell 800+ tickets per city
    gogoTier 5: can sell <800 tickets per city

    these are per city as opposed to per event since
    concert series are becoming increasingly common

      The Story in the Data

      3,000 ≠ 3,000

      An A-lister with 3,000 unsold tickets to their stadium show is scrutinised for 'being a flop' – even if they've already sold 60,000 tickets. Meanwhile, an act who sells out a 3,000 capacity venue for the first time, has probably just made the biggest and most important jump of their career – from being a potential to being profitable.

      So 3,000 tickets can mean very different things to different acts, based on their size, genre and stature.

      Fair for Everyone

      After a lot of data analysis by our team, the data revealed that live acts are naturally split into five tiers. All we did was write up the definitions based on what the story in the data told us.

      Oh, and we're by no means the only ones who have come across this split into '5 levels of fame'.

      • Next Big Sound has an iconic definition of 'status' based on social media statistics
        – Undiscovered, Promising, Established, Mainstream, Epic
      • and Hank Green even created a similar tiered system around fame in general in his latest book
        – Popularity, Notoriety, Working-Class Fame, True Fame, Divinity.

      But we're focused on the five tiers of the live music industry. Most professionals in the industry already know that averages in the music industry don't make much sense unless the data is tiered because of the long tail nature of the field.

      This idea of the five gogoTiers is so central to our approach to data analytics, that as soon as you identify your act in our system, we tell you what gogoTier the act sits in.

      Tier for Every Act

      This screenshot from our log-in screen for a user setting up 'Taylor Swift' sees these two options: Taylor Swift – the touring international superstar that sells tens of thousands of tickets in every city visited on the planet, and Taylor Swift – the museum experience that sells tickets in the hundreds or low thousands in one location.

      The touring act is our top tier, gogoTier 1 and the museum is entry-level gogoTier 5.

      Even if they share a 'brand name', these are fundamentally different operations that have very different needs. One is not better than the other; these definitions are to give everyone involved more clarity on what expectations are fair based on the operation at hand, including ticket price, venue size, and even range (local, regional, or global).

      gogoTier 1:

      The 1% of the 1%

      photo by Chaz McGregor • Adelaide Entertainment Centre • capacity 20,000+

      When you find out who is in gogoTier 2, you’ll ask why 1 and 2 are two different tiers. Again, it comes from the data. There's big and then there's absoultely fucking massive. And this is for those who are so massive that it defies 'normal' levels of stardom success.

      These are not just those at the top of their game, but it's the artists who have been there for at least a decade with big tours, big singles, big albums. This is when the “STADIUM TOUR” phrase come out, which is still a big deal for any act.

      Only those in the most mainstreams genres, like rock or pop or alternative, ever make it into this category. There’s no time for controversy at the top, only the gold standard.

      By the Numbers

      • Typical Capacity: 40,000 ~ ranging 15,000-70,000
      • Venue: stadiums or outdoor spaces
      • Ticket Price Range: $110 ~ ranging $70–$160
      • Average Dates in a Year: 40 shows ~ ranging 12-92
      • Turnover per Event: minimum $1.5 million, up to $10 million
      • Estimated Annual Revenue: minimum $80 million up to $200-300 million
      • Range: International, global, superstar across generations
      • Name recognition: it's safe to assume everyone knows their name

      Only the biggest acts in the most popular music genres AND those who have been around for at least 10 years are gogoTier 1 acts.

      gogoTier 2:

      Famous, Icons, Legends

      photo by Redd Angelo • Gallagher Park in Edmonton, Canada • capacity 10,000+

      This is still very much a legend tier. If that friend you know who’s not really into music randomly messages you on Facebook “oh, did you see that this person is coming to town to perform… should we go??”, that’s guaranteed a minimum gogoTier 2 legend.

      The biggest names in the ever so slightly smaller genres all live here, think country stars, all the DJs in electronic music, the hard-rockers, the Latin artists, rappers, hip-hop names and R&B artists. The biggest names in those genres are all here in gogoTier 2. We also have the hottest stars of 'today' in here who simply haven't been around for long enough to reach gogoTier 1.

      By the Numbers

      • Typical Capacity: 12,000 ~ ranging 5,000-20,000
      • Venue: arenas and stadiums
      • Ticket Price Range: $80 ~ ranging $35–$200
      • Average Dates in a Year: 60 ~ ranging 20-120
      • Average Turnover per Event: minimum $400,000, up to $2 million
      • Estimated Annual Revenue: minimum $20 million, up to $80 million
      • Range: huge star, likely internationally but at least in their own country
      • Name recognition: most people will know their name

      Most of the biggest tours at any one point are in gogoTier 2. These are the hottest acts in the hottest genres who are relentlessly touring across the globe.

      gogoTier 3:

      Those Who Absolutely Have Made It

      photo Nainoa Shizuru • location unknown • capacity 5,000+

      This is the first "professional", or more accurately profitable, level, believe it or not. If there’s someone from your town who’s really succeeded and is now touring the world and is able to live off of their music, they’re probably a gogoTier 3 act.

      Any breakout success star, who has this one track that dominated the charts, or released a really good album; or alternatively, someone who was really famous at some point and has kinda started slowing down, they’re probably here in the gogoTier 3.

      Here we have even more music genres, most of the big classical concerts live here in gogoTier 3, Jazz & Blues names start showing up, and just like the long tail curve would indicate the big categories of rock, pop, alternative are really big here.

      By the Numbers

      • Typical Capacity: 5,000 ~ ranging 1,000-12,000
      • Venue: theatre or arenas or big clubs
      • Ticket Price $35 ~ ranging $20-$70
      • Average Dates in a Year: 20 ~ ranging 0-70+
      • Average Turnover per Event: minimum $20,000 , up to $500,000
      • Estimated Annual Revenue: hard to estimate, depends on all the other numbers
      • Range: likely stronger in their own region
      • Name recognition: within the genre or region, sure – outside of it, not necessarily

      Acts in gogoTier 3 can be banked on. The acts can span many genres and venue types but are a reliable, profitable live act with their own audience and can attract a crowd in most places.

      ==== the profitable break ====

      here's where the numbers get hard to estimate – it depends entirely on work ethic,
      hype and backing from management. Some acts in tiers 4 and 5 are able to
      make some money, but the numbers are not as easy to come by, and it
      varies greatly based on the act.

      gogoTier 4:


      photo by Aaron Paul • Toronto, Canada • capacity 800+

      This is what we like to call the make-or-break tier. Unlikely to have broken even yet, these are artists who are working like crazy to get to gogoTier 3. This is the new artist on the scene that is taking every interview, touring up and down whatever coast or land they can find, sometimes coming in at 40, 50 or even 80-100 shows in a year.

      They’ve got someone backing them up, like a label or a management that really believes in them and is pushing them to go all the way. This is the kinda band your trendy friend is really excited about, and might drag you to go to even if you’ve never heard about them before.

      The names in this tier are mainly unfamiliar to most, unless there’s someone from their local area, so their strongest support is hands down at home.

      By the Numbers

      • Typical Capacity: 1,200 ~ ranging 100-3,000
      • Venue: clubs, local venues
      • Ticket Price $35 ~ ranging $10-$50
      • Average Dates in a Year: varies widely, can be 0 or 100+
      • Average Turnover per Event: minimum $1,000, up to $30,000
      • Estimated Annual Revenue: still in the process of becoming profitable
      • Range: strong locally and the home region, building elsewhere
      • Name recognition: limited except in their own crowd

      This is an act that's proven to have something to say, is able to attract a crowd, has the attention of the industry and likely some financial backing. They're now in the pressure cooker that is 'the make or break' state, which involves a lot of touring.

      gogoTier 5:

      New Kid on the Block // Hobbyist

      photo by Jorge Gordo • Café La Palma, Madrid, Spain • capacity under 800

      gogoTier 5 is really broad, because it captures everyone who’s yet to work their way up to having a team to back them up. This could be someone who’s working really hard to get out there, but just as well someone who is not really doing anything.

      Everyone starts in gogoTier 5, this is where the initial audience gets built, the brand, the name, the first tours, when you’re still relying on friends and family to buy albums and come to shows, and they might even still be free.

      This person’s audience is almost limited to their own personal network. It may seem a little bit unfair to group someone who’s consistently selling 200-300-400 tickets to someone selling no tickets at all, but that genuinely just shows how hard it is. There are 2 tiers at the top, but when it’s still in the long end of the long tail, it is still really long and hard to get out of.

      By the Numbers

      • Typical Capacity: 300 ~ ranging 50-1,500
      • Venue: local venues, bars, public houses
      • Ticket Price often free, can be up to $10
      • Average Dates in a Year: varies widely, can be 0 or a few dozen
      • Average Turnover per Event: limited, often not performing for money
      • Estimated Annual Revenue: still in the process of becoming profitable
      • Range: building locally and in the home region
      • Name recognition: not much more than the act's own network

      This is an act that's either just getting started, is hyper-local, or simply isn't interested in making a living off of touring.

      Find Out Which gogoTier your act is

      Simply type your artist name in the field to find out!