While it's probably not shocking that StubHub's top selling music ticket of the year was One Direction, numbers two and three may surprise.
George Strait and Luke Bryan took over the next spots, proving country music's national popularity. In fact, Strait's last show sold so many tickets on StubHub that sales for the following two biggest music events of 2014—Luke Bryan and Justin Timberlake concerts—didn't combine to top the country singer's box-office performance.
"I don't think we realize how huge country music is," StubHub lead rep Glen Lehrman said. "Traditionally, we think of pop music as the one that is going to drive the most interest in ticket sales—your Beyonce, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga. George Strait didn't do that many dates, but his last concert ever [at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas] was by far one of the biggest events we had in 2014."
Lehrman said part of Strait's success may also be due to the fact that he was holding a farewell tour. Farewell and reunion tours did remarkably well in 2014, per the company's data.
"There's a nostalgia factor," he observed. "If you look at Cher, the audience that goes to see her is the Baby Boomer audience. Her ticket prices are higher that many others, but her fans don't mind because they have the most means. Backstreet Boys and New Edition are appealing to moms in their 30s and 40s. It's an excuse for a night out."
Overall, however, music sales were stagnant this year, Lehrman said.
At any rate, he is predicting a comeback year for music concerts in 2015 since U2, Coldplay, Adele, Foo Fighters and Taylor Swift are all confirmed or rumored to be hitting the road. Country superstars Luke Bryan, Garth Brooks and Miranda Lambert will also be on tour.
"In 2014, we didn't see the caliber and amount of big concerts," Lehrman said. "That's going to change in 2015."