Promoter Michael Coppel on the big business of P!NK
P!NK is one of the highest selling artists of the current millennium. In fact, Australians have collectively consumed more P!NK records than Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and Justin Bieber since debut album Can’t Take Me Home graced retail stores in 2000.
The rest is history for the Pennsylvania popstar, who has gone on to collect 43 ARIA Platinum plaques in the country (excluding compilation albums), and boasts the 30th and 31st best-selling albums in Australia to date – no mean feat for an artist under 40 years of age.
At radio, she’s served up a colossal 13 chart-topping singles on the TMN Hot 100 airplay chart since ‘Most Girls’ first broke Aussie radio nearly two decades ago. No artist (local or international) has lodged more #1s on the chart.
With a career hinged on A-grade consistency and an industrious worth ethic, P!NK is showing no signs of slowing down. Her upcoming Australia/New Zealand leg of the Beautiful Trauma Tour has the entire trans-pacific region buzzing. With 38 shows in seven cities across three months starting July 3, it’s shaping up to be one of the biggest tours to ever arrive at this corner of the globe.
“We’re running out of shows we can play rather than running out of audience, which is usually the problem as a promoter,” says Live Nation Australasia chairman Michael Coppel, the man who’s been by P!NK’s side since her first national tour here more than a decade ago.
“The tickets have sold very, very quickly,” he quietly adds.
While Coppel has toured big-name acts like Madonna, Linkin Park and Adele in Australia, he insists the usual touring obstacles do not apply to P!NK the same way they do to other artists.
“Usually you’re faced with not enough people to sell tickets to, not the problem of having enough shows to offer them – it’s a very bittersweet situation for us to be in,” he tells TMN.
The calibre of the Beautiful Trauma Tour is comparable to Ed Sheeran’s visit to Australia in March. The UK hitmaker set a new Australian touring landmark with over 1 million concert tickets sold, shattering the 32-year-old record held by Dire Straits after the group shifted an unworldly total of 950,000 tickets in 1986.
“Very few [artists] have the time to spend here to soak up the demand,” Coppel says, honouring Sheeran’s record-breaking tour, but he believes the potential for P!NK’s upcoming tour is greater than most people realise.
“We could have done at least a dozen more [shows] given the interest from fans. She’s only ever toured here in the winter months, so we’ve never had the opportunity of doing a stadium tour to see exactly what you can draw.
“It’s totally a seasonal thing because we are in a situation that, in terms of the album release date, she’s always toured June, July and August, and that pretty much rules out playing open air venues anywhere in the country.”
With 13 radio #1s to her name, there’s no shortage of hits that will make the setlist come July. From ‘So What’ to ‘What About Us’, P!NK’s longevity as an artist is profound, allowing her to straddle the line between mainstream commercial hit radio and adult-oriented formats – a unique space that not many artists have the privilege of occupying.
In the week commencing March 26, P!NK scored a total of 1,111 spins on Australian radio. 399 spins (≈36%) were recorded across non-CHR formats such as Adult Contemporary, Rock, Hot AC, and even Classic – exemplifying the broadness and clout of her following in the country.
The charting movements of last single ‘Whatever You Want’ exemplifies this perfectly. The song is currently at #14 on the Hot 100, a chart largely influenced by commercial radio airplay, while also maintaining its position at the top of the TMN Adult Contemporary airplay chart.
According to Brad McNicol, music director for KIIS Sydney and Melbourne, P!NK’s rare songwriting ability and sublime production has bolstered the lasting relevance of her catalogue, but it’s her “True Blue” personality, unfiltered sassiness and charisma that has established a multi-generational fanbase like no other.
“P!NK has been consistently giving us hits since ‘There You Go’ and ‘Most Girls’ in 2000,” McNicol says.
“She has an incredibly strong and distinctive voice, is a terrific songwriter and has worked with fantastic producers like Max Martin and Shellback [Johan Schuster] – so those ingredients alone have brought a healthy dose of radio success.
“But more than that, she has put a lot of work into the Australian market with massive tours and great interviews. Her ‘Aussie-like’ personality and sense of humour comes through in her music and she has a genuine relationship with her fans.”
Coppel agrees: “I think what I find most striking is she has a great personality, she actually enjoys coming to this country – she loves it here and the audience has been great to her. She works hard at her career she’s always done a lot of promotion, especially in this market, and I think that’s paid off.
“I see a lot of artists you can ask to do promotional work for a tour and, a year later, you are still asking the question and nothing’s happened. She is one of the select artists who’s been really on point in terms of doing things like that, and you see the benefit to the career that she’s been so successful in building.”