Box Office Spotlight: Jay-Z 4:44 Reports Strong

Pollstar received box office reports for 15 dates from Jay-Z’s 4:44 North American tour, with strong sales in markets including New York, D.C., Cleveland, Nashville, Atlanta, Toronto, Miami and others. 

John Davisson
– Jay-Z
Jay-Z performs at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 11.

With $24.3 million grossed on the headline shows reported (an average of $1.43 million gross per night) and data from 17 headline gigs outstanding, more reporting would almost surely put Jay-Z into the Top 50 of Pollstar’s Year End Worldwide Tours chart.

Individual reports include a sold-out 13,292 tickets at NYCB Live: Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., Dec. 2, which grossed $1.31 million; 18,147 tickets (sold out) Nov. 29 at Capital One Arena in Washington D.C., which grossed $2.2 million; two nights at Barclays Center in Brooklyn Nov. 26-27, which moved a combined 31,253 tickets and grossed just less than $4.4 million; and 15,735 tickets sold out at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami Nov. 12, which grossed $1.7 million. He also sold out two nights at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, with 25,270 tickets sold and $2.3 million grossed Nov. 22-23.

Of the reported dates, the average tickets sold was 13,721 per show, with an average ticket price of $104 with seats ranging from as low as $30 for the cheap seats to nearly $300 on the top end.  The Live Nation tour wraps tomorrow at the Forum in Inglewood. Vic Mensa was support.

With two dates canceled in the smaller markets of Lincoln, Neb., and Fresno, Calif., citing production issues, and some media reports of empty seats and cheap StubHub tickets at the beginning of the tour, there seemed to be cause for concern.  

However, a Live Nation representative told Pollstar at the time that with the tour’s ticketing configuration, the 4:44 tour in early November had already outsold Jay Z’s previous 35-date Magna Carter tour.

The general managers of the venues where shows were canceled explained the production issues to Pollstar, saying the screens on the tour presented somewhat unusual circumstances.

Fresno’s Save Mart Center Assistant GM Sean McElhinney said, “It’s tough when you get into the round. There are a lot more obstructions they have to work around than on a typical end stage. But it’s a lot better for the fans. And there aren’t a lot of artists who can perform in the round. It’s not an easy feat, playing in 360.” 

While many of the 4:44 dates have not been reported to Pollstar, it’s undeniable that Hova is a major draw and commands a hefty ticket price.  

Live Nation has been trying to price tickets closer to their “real” value and therefore make resale less enticing to secondary ticketers. A $300 face value ticket may turn some heads, but seems commonplace on secondary ticketing sites where the profits don’t go to the artist or anyone involved in booking the show. However, it also may prove difficult to sell $300 floor seats in some markets.

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.

Jay-Z was recently nominated for eight Grammy Awards in a year where rap and hip-hop featured heavily, with seven nominations going to Kendrick Lamar and five for Childish Gambino