*Yes, you can find tickets to Jay-Z’s current 4:44 Tour for just $6 on StubHub, but it doesn’t mean that the tour is so hard up for sales that he’s slashing prices to fill seats.
According to promoter Live Nation, the low prices are actually a sign that the rap mogul has successfully priced ticket scalpers out of the game by charging market rates for the best seats in the house, reports Billboard.
Three dates in, the 4:44 Tour is already Jay-Z’s highest grossing solo tour ever, according to Live Nation. Average gross for the 4:44 Tour’s completed shows is up 21 percent over his 2013 Magna Carter Tour — Live Nation said the Honda Center show in Anaheim, Calif., earned nearly 49% more than the same stop in 2013.
“This tour will be the biggest headlining tour of Jay’s career,” says Omar Al-Joulani, VP of touring at Live Nation.
Sales for Jay-Z’s tour represent a paradigm shift in concert tickets: by more aggressively pricing front row seats, VIP experiences and platinum tickets, concert promoters are getting increasingly more skilled at commanding high prices and record grosses from their best seating inventory. That’s bad news for ticket resellers — by pricing tickets closer to actual market value, Jay-Z and Live Nation are capturing more revenue and creating little room for brokers to mark up the best seats.
In fact, the highest grossing event of 2017 — the Aug. 26 fight between Floyd Mayweather and Connor McGregor in Las Vegas — was also dogged by rumors of slow ticket sales because of low prices on the secondary market, only to post a staggering $55.4 million gate.
Further adding to pressure on the secondary is Live Nation’s strategy to release large blocks of tickets prior to Jay-Z taking the stage. Al-Joulani explained that the 4:44 Tour sells eight to 10 percent of total tickets on the day of show — the Las Vegas concert at T-Mobile Center (Oct. 28) saw 1,480 tickets sold with 24 hours of Jay-Z taking the stage without any tickets marked down in price, a record for an arena show in Sin City. Al-Joulani says Jay-Z has already sold more tickets than the entire Magna Carta Tour, and that’s with 30 more shows to go.
There’s also more inventory than usual because of Jay-Z’s circular stage and in-the-round configuration that extends the live experience throughout the entire arena, opening up every seating section in the venue with four large, double-sided video walls hanging from the ceiling designed to lead the audience’s eye toward the stage.