In 2005, over a sparkling Shirley Bassey sample, Jay-Z requested something very simple — "Let me handle my business, damn." Unfortunately, publications and fans did not oblige last week. On Friday (November 3), Digital Music News reported that Jay-Z’s 4:44 tour is experiencing low ticket sales and potentially empty arenas.
Yesterday, Omar Al-Joulani, the VP of touring at Live Nation, came forward to debunk the news in a statement to Billboard: "This tour will be the biggest headlining tour of Jay’s career.” According to Live Nation, Jay’s 4:44 tour is the highest-grossing solo tour of his career, and sales are up 21 percent from 2013’s Magna Carta Tour.
The root of the confusion seems to be fans on social media posting about the price of tickets on Ticketmaster and resale sites like StubHub and Seat Geek. However, this all seems to be going according to plan for Live Nation and Jigga.
The reason consumers are finding tickets as cheap as $6 is a strategy in which Live Nation leverages highly desirable seats and VIP deals to maximize revenue, pricing out a majority of resellers. As a result, many ticket brokers have to settle for tickets in the upper levels, which fans can find for affordable prices on primary sites like Ticketmaster or secondary platforms like StubHub. A similar strategy was used this year by artists The Weeknd, One Direction, and Coldplay.
Earlier this year, Jay-Z and Live Nation announced a 10-year partnership worth $200 million. In a statement to Forbes, Jay-Z described the deal as “a testament to our longstanding relationship and the talented individuals at Live Nation. For the next ten years, we will continue redefining the live event landscape." It looks like Jay was right.