It’s finally here! Beyonce and Jay-Z kick off their much anticipated On The Run Tour on Wednesday (June 25) at Miami, Florida’s Sun Life Stadium. After premiering the star-studded “RUN” movie trailer last month, the superstar couple has shared a series of black-and-white snapshots from their rehearsals for the stadium shows.
Of course, the hip-hop mogul and R&B diva aren’t exactly strangers to the concept of working together. The official poster for their tour — showing the married couple hugging with ski masks on — is reminiscent of their very first song collaboration “’03 Bonnie & Clyde.” Since then, they have worked together on at least nine songs on both musicians’ albums, including “Drunk in Love,” “Upgrade U,” “Hollywood” and “Crazy in Love. Blue Ivy’s parents have also teamed up on stage several times this year alone for performances at the Grammy Awards, the DirecTV Super Bowl party and one of Beyonce’s dates at London’s O2 Arena. However, this will mark the first time that the duo will have released Jay-Z and Beyonce tickets for a full tour.
Various naysayers and media outlets including In Touch Weekly, International Business Times AU and Radar (to name a few) say that in the aftermath of the elevator tape leaking the average price for “On The Run” tickets dropped 13.5%, from a “that’s crazy” price of $306.22 to a “that’s still crazy” price of $264.73. Then came the rumors that people might just be over of the couple. Both Jay and Bey toured last year, Jay Z alongside Justin Timberlake, selling out all 14 of their dates on the 15th-highest grossing tour of 2013, and Beyoncé on her Mrs. Carter World Tour, the eighth-highest grossing tour of the year, which sold out 40 of 59 shows. However, Forbes reports that the On The Run Tour will be the second highest-grossing tour in history. With only 20 dates, that would mean they are pulling in an incredible $5,000,000 per show. Apparently less is truly more. Hitting that number would put Jay and Bey in second place all-time for gross profit per show, only trailing U2’s “360” tour, which grossed over $6 million per show. Yes, Jay and Bey are laughing all the way to the bank. Despite what you may have heard, demand appears high for Jay Z and Beyonce’s On The Run tour. Oh yes…it’s good being The Carters, real good. Take that haters.
In its report, Forbes also explained why some publications have said the tour is struggling.
“The epicenter for the misinformation about the tours ‘Crumbling’, ‘Suffering,’ and ‘Plummeting’ is a site called Hollywood411,” Forbes says. “In addition to mischaracterizing the ticket picture, the site went so far as to speculate that the entire elevator episode may have been an elaborate ruse to put a jolt into anemic sales. While Hollywood411 seems to have a good handle on the world and celebrity gossip and cheap pageviews, the article shows a total lack of understanding of the ticket market. According to the site ‘there are over 11,000 tickets in motion on StubHub for the couple’s July 11th show at MetLife Stadium…Even on Ticketmaster.com’s own system, a quick check shows a very bald stadium, with lots of tickets for sale and official resale.’ What the site fails to understand is that a robust secondary market is actually the sign of a healthy tour, not a sick one. If 11,000 people are taking the time to sell their tickets, it means they think there’s an opportunity to make money. As for the ‘bald stadium’ comment, when it comes to ticket sales, bald is beautiful, as it means that there are no seats left.”
It is true that a fair amount of tickets are still available for sale in some cities on both the primary and secondary markets. Regarding the latter, to pass judgment on the success of any tour by the number of tickets available on the secondary market is misguided. Those tickets have already been sold, at least once. Ticket resellers are, for the most part, speculators; they buy tickets at on-sale, speculating that they will be able to re-sell them at a higher price. Sometimes they win big, and sometimes they lose. Quite often, resellers purchase more tickets than demand dictates, and in many cases these tickets are priced higher than the market will bear. In such a situation, re-sellers adjust pricing or take a hit, and that’s when fans with patience can find deals as re-sellers slash prices in an attempt to cut their losses. In the end, supply and demand rules the day, as it does in most businesses.
As to primary sales, if these numbers revealed do play out, it would appear that On The Run could still come up short of an across-the-board sellout, as some of the venues on the route have capacities of as much as 60,000, depending on configurations and production kills. While a significant amount of tickets are currently available on the primary market a week before the tour begins, that is not out of line with market tendencies trending toward fans purchasing closer to the show, and walk-up will likely be strong as promoters promote, anticipation builds, and on-the-fence buyers figure out tickets are available. And, if early reviews are positive and the show lives up to its “must see” potential, that also shows up at the box office.
Even if OTR finishes at 90% capacity (which seems reasonable at this point), that would be considered a huge success, given the healthy ticket prices and the large number of tickets on the market. Complete stadium tours are rare these days in North America, not only because of the inherent production expenses involved, but also because of the huge demand necessary to pull them through. More often, superstars opt to route arenas or amphitheaters and then add on shows if the market dictates, or, increasingly for top acts, book stadium shows in only the best markets. Most likely, Jay-Z and Beyonce opted to go for stadiums on their first tour together not only because of perceived demand, but also because tapping into that demand at stadiums required less of a time commitment than would multiple shows in arenas or amphitheaters. Not only have both Bey and Jay already been touring hard for more than a year, but for stars of this stature, with diverse interests, causes and businesses, time is their most valuable asset.
Had both Beyonce and Jay-Z been 100% “clean” in the marketplace — meaning neither had been through these markets separately in the previous 18 months — the tour might indeed have sold out immediately, in every market. But that’s hindsight, and certainly not a given; Jay-Z and Beyonce together is a different animal, with different economics and perception in the marketplace from what these artists are separately. And, despite what would seem an obvious mass appeal, these two together was still an unknown entity. That’s why concert promotion is a risky business by its very nature. Though in this case it appears as though the risk/reward quotient will play out positively. The end results will show up in the Boxscore charts — and whether they opt to do it again.
Jay-Z said it best, “Men lie, women lie…numbers don’t.”
Throughout July and August, “On the Run” will stop at major stadiums across the country including Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and L.A.’s Rose Bowl before making its way to Paris on September 12 and 13. Also, On The Run Tour: Beyoncé and JAY Z, in partnership with #BeyGOOD, will donate $1 from every ticket purchased to the Shawn Carter Foundation to support students. For more info go to www.shawncartersf.com and www.Beyonce.com/BeyGoodTo view tour dates for On The Run, click here.
Jay Z and Beyonce have been relatively absent from the public eye since Jay’s elevator scuffle with Solange back in May. Yesterday, the pair revealed the first photos from their upcoming On The Run tour. Check them out!