The bulk of ‘Sky Blue Sky’ was tested on the road, where Wilco has thrived since the start of the decade. The group, which permits fans to tape its shows and frequently streams concerts for free on its Web site, has grossed nearly $8 million from 117 shows reported to Billboard Boxscore since 2000. A 2005 live album, “Kicking Television,” has sold 114,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
“The thing that separates Wilco from a lot of bands is that they can play in a lot of markets and do good business,” manager Tony Margherita says. “They can go to Little Rock, Ark., Indianapolis, you name it. They have played in a lot of places that other people don’t go to, and many of them repeatedly. That’s something we’ve really concentrated on in the last few years.”
It’s not that the markets just naturally support the band either; it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of revisiting to build up that fan base. The band is simply reaping the benefits whenever they return. Makes sense, doesn’t it?