Jay-Z Tour Booms With Pricing, Configuration

Reps from Live Nation have stepped forward to quash unsubstantiated reports that Jay-Z’s tour is struggling, saying the “4:44 Tour” is already surpassing his last major solo endeavor, “Magna Carter” in 2013-14.
Andy Kropa/Invision/AP
– Jay-Z
Performing during The Meadows Music and Arts Festival at Citi Field in New York.
After Jay-Z canceled a show in Fresno and tickets were listed at shockingly low prices (one ticket to a show in Sacramento was going for $10 on StubHub at press time) on the secondary market, some began speculating that the hip-hop titan’s tour was selling sluggishly.
One canceled show and cheap tickets on resale sites like StubHub, however, does not necessarily mean much in terms of a large-scale tour like Jay’s and we were content to wait and see what the tour reports showed. Since then, LN started getting the word out that the suppositions were erroneous and shared a few nuggets of data to prove their point.
Roc Nation released a statement saying the Fresno cancellation was in fact due to “unforeseen load-in logistics with the intricacy and scale of the production” and a Live Nation representative asserted, very clearly, to Pollstar that the tour was an unmitigated success thanks to proper pricing.
Jay-Z’s gross per average is up 21 percent from “Magna Carter,” with only a handful of shows having taken place a Live Nation spokesperson told Pollstar. They also confirmed that shows in Phoenix and Denver were completely sold out and that total ticket sales for the 33-show “4:44 Tour” have already surpassed those of the 35-show “Magna Carter.”
Jay-Z has historically been excellent about reporting his tours, though the first batch of Box Office reports have yet to surface. Until then, we can extrapolate a bit from the data provided by Live Nation.
Jay-Z ticket prices for his three nights at Staples Center in Los Angeles in 2013 peaked at $150. When Jay plays
When Jay-Z played the American Airlines Center in Dallas in 2013, the top-end of tickets cost $146 at face value. With the show staging tonight, Nov. 7, at the same venue, the most expensive tickets available were $195, though there were still more than 100 listed on Ticketmaster at press time. Meanwhile, the cheapest tickets on StubHub were asking for $28.50.
LN is claiming this as a victory for proper ticket pricing. CEO Michael Rapino has long been hammering home the point that as long as tickets are priced significantly under their value on the secondary market touts will always swoop in to resell them.
Thus, while it might seem like a cash grab to charge fans more for good seats, LN views it as one way to combat the secondary market, as the margin for profit will be greatly reduced.
Ticketmaster’s EVP and Head of Music David Marcus told Pollstar in July that the company is still making a sustained effort to work with artists to properly price their tickets, but acknowledged that it may never be possible to get all artists to charge the full value of what their tickets command, and that other strategies like the company’s Verified Fan system represent another effort to contain the secondary market.
Another reason for the increase in gross and sales may be stage design. During the “Magna Carter” tour in 2013, the show at American Airlines Center sold all of the 9,724 tickets available. However, that arena has a maximum capacity of 20,021, meaning there are likely ways to set things up to open more tickets.
If capacity for shows has indeed increased and the shows are selling prime tickets at higher prices, Box Office reports will further validate LN’s claims and Jay-Z may very well be destined to make some noise in Pollstar’s year-end Top 100 tours.