Metallica hesitates on European tour

Metallica hesitates on European tour

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Metallica hesitates on European tour

Rock band Metallica is worried the euro will plummet, making it harder for concert promoters in the 17 countries that use the currency to pay their fees. Hürriyet photo

Metallica’s longtime manager is accelerating the band’s tour plans to avoid being sucked into Europe’s debt troubles, according to the Wall Street Journal.

With the gloom among investors spreading to richer countries such as France, the band’s manager, Cliff Burnstein, is worried that the euro will plummet, making it harder for concert promoters in the 17
countries that use the currency to pay Metallica’s fees.

Instead of playing Europe in 2013, as originally envisaged, Metallica will take a “European Summer Vacation” next year, including gigs at Germany’s Rock Im Park and Rock Am Ring festivals in early June – where the top-grossing thrash band will play its chart-topping 1991 record known as “The Black Album” in its entirety – before heading to Britain and Austria.

The global music industry is already dogged by slumping record sales, exorbitant ticket prices and a limping economy, the business daily reported. Now, financial fears are making even the biggest rock ‘n’ roll rebels play it safe to protect their pocketbooks. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, another group Burnstein manages with partner Peter Mensch, has also brought forward its European plans, having launched its first tour in four years this fall in Latin America despite complaints from Chili-starved U.S. fans.

Former Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan, who once unwittingly spent $40,000 on expensive suits in Italy because he did not realize how much his purchases were worth in dollars, is now also singing a more sober tune: After taking business courses at Seattle University, he started writing about finance for Playboy (“Duffonomics”) and launched a wealth-management firm for rockers known as Meridian Rock Capital Management LP.

After the 2008 global financial crisis, rock bands and their managers are paying closer attention to obscure concerns like currency rates and economic trends when inking contracts with foreign concert promoters. Eight months before Metallica takes the stage in Germany, Burnstein is reportedly deciding whether the band should be paid in dollars, euros or a combination of the two. If exchange rates swing in a way that hurts Metallica’s earnings, he will buy derivative financial instruments to lock in a preferred rate. Sometimes ticket prices are hiked to compensate for possible currency-related losses, though Burnstein reportedly shuns the strategy.

‘Euro will be weaker’
The euro is what Burnstein fears the most. “Over the next few years, the dollar will be stronger and the euro weaker, and if that’s the case, I want to take advantage of that by playing more of these [European] shows now, because they will be more profitable for us,” he said, according to the Wall Street Journal.