Box Office Insider: Hip-Hop by the Numbers; Steady Growth in 21st Century Box Office

Jay-Z and Beyoncé perform during the “On The Run Tour” at Soldier Field on July 24, 2014, in Chicago.
(Photo by Larry Busacca / PW/WireImage / Parkwood Entertainment)

Box office success has surged dramatically in the 21st century in comparison to pre-2000 norms with sales figures in the hip-hop universe showing consistent growth among the Top 100 artists in every five-year period since 2000. Generally, gross and sold ticket averages per show have continuously followed upward trajectories throughout the two-decade-plus timeframe.

The period from Jan. 1, 2000, through the end of 2004 saw 2,346 shows reported for hip-hop artists with a five-year gross totaling $217.1 million from 6.74 million tickets. That averages $92,541 and 2,873 sold tickets per show.

Heading up the slate of 100 touring artists during that era was 50 Cent who took in more than $30.6 million, almost all of it from the 2003 tour that followed the release of his debut album. He had 92 shows on record and a ticket total of 874,524. The “Up in Smoke” tour headlined by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg had the next highest gross with $22.2 million with more than one-half million tickets sold. Bow Wow followed with $17.9 million from 84 shows, much of it with B2K in 2002. The “Anger Management” tour, headlined largely by Eminem, was fourth with $16.3 million, while the 2000 “Ruff Ryders/Cash Money” joint tour with DMX and Juvenile grossed $14.4 million.

Between 2005 and 2009, the hip-hop show count was 3,792 with an overall gross of $444.5 million and 9.46 million tickets. Grosses rose 27% compared to the first five years, averaging $117,217 with 2,496 tickets sold.

See Artist Power Index, Live 75, Concert Pulse Charts

The top grosser was Kanye West with two headlining tours during those years. With 131 shows reported, his five-year gross topped $56.3 million from 989,999 tickets. Also among the top five were Jay-Z with $55.6 million from 629,789 tickets at 76 shows, 26 of them co-headlining dates with Mary J. Blige, who follows with $47.5 million from the joint tour as well as her own concerts. Next were The Black Eyed Peas with $45.6 million and Lil Wayne with $42.7 million.

The five-year gross from 2010 through 2014 jumped to $882.4 million with tickets totaling 15.2 million from 4,263 reported shows. The gross average of $206,995 per concert marked a 77% increase over the previous period, while the ticket average of 3,566 was 43% higher.

Jay-Z made the strongest showing with $316.2 million in sales from his headlining dates as well as four co-headlining efforts beginning with a 2012 tour with West. He also shared the stage with Coldplay on New Year’s Eve 2012, followed by summer concerts with Justin Timberlake the next year and the first “On the Run” tour with Beyoncé in 2014.

West lands among the Top 100 with $130.2 million from 93 shows – his own and the dates with Jay-Z – followed by Eminem with $121.7 million including stadium co-bills with Rihanna. Drake was fourth with $94.6 million and The Black Eyed Peas were fifth with $92.9 million.

The 2015-19 period saw hip-hop top $1.9 billion in box office sales along with 26.4 million in attendance from 4,120 reported shows. Average grosses again saw a percentage increase, and it was the largest of all at 124%. Likewise, the ticket sales average jumped 80% to 6,411 per concert.

Jay-Z again was No. 1 among the highest-grossing hip-hop stars with $294.8 million from 2.6 million tickets at 78 shows. More than 60% of them were for “On the Run II” with Beyoncé which accounted for $254 million of his overall. Drake had $255.3 million in sales with attendance of 2.3 million, while Post Malone racked up $120 million from 1.3 million tickets. Kendrick Lamar follows with $75.9 million from 66 shows and J. Cole with $75.4 million from 148.

Even COVID couldn’t stop the progress, as box office averages from 2020 through February 2023 still saw improvement over the previous five years. With 1,660 shows reported so far, grosses have averaged $590,340, surpassing the 2015-19 average by 27%. And the average ticket count is 7,318 – a 14% increase. Post Malone, Pitbull, Kendrick Lamar and Lizzo are among the artists excelling at the box office in the current era, while Bad Bunny and Daddy Yankee’s hip-hop-tinged reggaeton is massive.