For years it seemed as though Guns N’ Roses, and their lead singer, Axl Rose, had become a punchline for their oft-delayed 2008 album, Chinese Democracy. Nowadays, the band is laughing all the way to the bank with a string of sold-out performances around the world. The “Not in This Lifetime Tour” has become a testament to just how lucrative live performances continue to be for artists, and it’s only one of the ways that the band is making the music industry work for them today.
When Axl Rose, Slash, and bassist Duff McKagan joined forces once again for the tour, it represented one of the closest recreations of the GNR’s ’90s lineup that we’d seen in more than 20 years. Fans apparently felt the same way, and responded by making the “Not In This Lifetime Tour” one of the most profitable tours in years. The tour began in April 2016 and has been a massive success, grossing a whopping $230 million to date. Furthermore, this number doesn’t include the additional revenue for many of the Asian territories the band visited in the first quarter of 2017.
GNR was one of the top-five grossing tours of 2016, coming in beyond Bruce Springsteen, Beyoncé, and Coldplay. Not bad for a rock band that released their latest record nearly a decade ago (2008). In fact, touring was more profitable across the board, with the top 10 tours showing an 11.3 percent increase over the 2015 numbers. Bands are making more money than ever on the road, and at a time when streaming has become the norm and cut down on revenue from album sales.
Guns N’ Rose have also made a comeback in other places, especially the digital world. In addition to the success the band has found thanks to its live shows, it’s become increasing popular in the realm of online gaming. GNR is now the theme for a licensed slot reel where fans can try their luck with Axl and Slash while enjoying some of the band’s greatest hits.
And GNR isn’t the only band that has taken advantage of this new medium. Other established acts such as Jimi Hendrix and Motörhead have their own games that are included alongside dozens of other popular licensed games online that cover everything from bands to hit movies and TV shows. Online gaming is just another way that musicians have found to make ends meet in a modern world where they can no longer solely rely on record sales.
With more dates expected to last all the way through October, it’s clear that Guns N’ Roses aren’t planning on slowing down. If they continue to be the kind of live draw they’ve been for the past two years, we can expect GNR to keep rocking for a long time to come. And this bodes well for other bands that might want to follow a similar path to a successful future.