Monday, November 21, 2016

Kanye West walks out on Sacramento, but let's go backstage with the big-earning concert industry.

Last Saturday marked iconic and controversial rapper Kanye West’s first performance at the new Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. So how did it go? 

You've probably heard by now that he came out an hour and a half late, played three songs, brought out Kid Cudi, went on a nearly-nonsensical rant that has Snoop Dog even scratching his head, and then left the stage. 

When the lights came on, leaving thousands of concertgoers angry and bewildered, it ignited a firestorm of backlash against West, who also canceled a subsequent show in Inglewood and then the rest of his tour.

But it also raises the question: just how much do top music artists like West earn for one show?

Here are some estimates from 2015’s top-grossing live rap acts:

Kendrick Lamar: $125k+
50 Cent: $150k+
Nicki Minaj: $250k+
Lil Wayne: $300k+
Drake: $350k-$600k
Macklemore: $350k-$700k
Kanye West: $500k+
Jay Z: $1,000,000+

But those artists’ paychecks are dwarfed by BeyoncĂ©, who reportedly earned up to $4 million per performance for her On the Run tour.

These numbers are based on 2015’s concert stats, so a lot can change in one year as some artists become more popular and command even larger fees, while others drop out of favor.

Just how much did Kanye West get paid?

While it hasn’t been publicized how much Kanye received for his performance at Sacramento’s Golden One Center, if we assume he earned at least his standard $500,000 per show fee, that means:

3 songs/$500,000 = $166,667 per song

Or 30 minutes (of singing and ranting)/$500,000 = $16,667 per minute

The good news is that for the 15,000 Sacramento fans that had their time wasted by Kanye, StubHub is reportedly going to refund the cost of tickets.

But Kanye’s now famous lack-of-performance at the Golden One Center highlights the financial aspect of concerts and live music. So just how much money are we talking about?

Backstage with the financial details of the concert industry:

The live music and entertainment industry reportedly generates $25 billion a year in ticket sales.

2016 has been a banner year for live music and concerts, with 5.1% annual growth compared to the same time in 2015. That comes at a time when record sales have dipped significantly (in large part due to the digitalization of music and availability online).

The top 100 tours from the North American concert business alone raked in $3.12 billion in 2015, which is a major 14% increase from 2014.

That means we bought 42.08 million tickets to the top 100 live shows and concerts in North America that year, up 10% from the previous year and setting a new record.

The global concert business was also booming in 2015, with the top 100 tours grossing $4.71 billion, up 11% from 2014.

Global ticket sales for the top 100 tours were up 16% in 2015, with 59.78 million ticket sales The total tickets sold worldwide by the Top 100 was up that same 16% to 59.78 million sales.

Those numbers may be huge but they’re still shy of the record $5 billion profit and 63.34 million tickets sold in 2013.

The Concert and Event Promotion industry includes concerts but also dance performances, circuses, talent acts like the Blue Man Group, and even sporting events. But live music in concert still accounts for 58.55% of total industry revenue.

Kanye West not withstanding, every year, live music and concerts employ an estimated 221,795 workers and staff.

The most comprehensive data on the live music industry comes from Pollstar, which issued its annual state of the live music industry report in mid-2016.

According to that Pollstar report, the top 50 tours in the world had already earned just under $2 billion mid-2016, with six months to go.

That’s up 14% from the top 50 tour earnings at the same mid-point in 2015.

In that same six-month period to start 2016, those 50 world tours sold 22.6 million tickets sold, a 13.5% increase from 2015.

When we look at just North America’s concert earning figures, the top 100 tours generated $1.48 billion in the first part of 2016, up 3% from the same period in 2015.

The average concert now generates $32,000, which is a 5.4% increase from 2015. That number seems notably low, but remember that there are thousands of music artists and bands playing live shows and touring, and not everyone earns top dollar like Kanye West.

Ticket prices

Adjusted to real dollars, the average concert ticket price between 2011 and 2013 was $78. But that jumped to $82.07 in 2014. (If that sounds like an insignificant increase, multiply that by millions of ticket sales!)

However, following a well-planned trend in the live music industry, ticket prices are actually on the decline again in 2016. In fact, the average ticket price dropped by declined by 4% to $78.77.

The top grossing music acts:

Between 2000 and 2015, the top grossing music act was the Irish rock band US. They went on world tours in 2001, 2009, and 2011, and their 2011 tour was the highest grossing North American tour ever, generating $156 million.

Taylor Swift was a huge hit in 2015 with her massive world tour, bringing in more than $250 million in ticket sales and playing in front of 2.3 million fans.

$199.4 million of that was from concerts in North America alone, eclipsing the previous record of $162 set by the Rolling Stones on their epic 2005 tour.

But the band One Direction was the top global attraction last year, selling an industry-leading 2,364,390 tickets, but grossing “only” $210.2 million (just shy of Swift’s purse.)

In 2015, AC/DC’s word tour brought in $180 million, the biggest payday that band has ever seen.

Other top ticket sellers included:

Ed Sheehan 1.578 million tickets
Foo Fighters 1.365 million tickets
Kenny Chesney 1.363 million tickets
Luke Bryan 1.23 million tickets
Maroon Five  875,000 tickets
Ariana Grande  790,000 tickets
Dave Matthews Band 760,000 tickets


Look for part two of this blog where we cover more of the secret finacial reality of the worlds top music artists! 

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