Being a nerd has hidden, dark qualities that interfere with life. My gravitational pull often sucks in mundane things like statistics and computation into subjects nobody is asking to be thought of in such a manner. My fixation will not end until I see a percentage of some sort and I feel like I learned something nobody has before. I don’t feel better about myself when I am through as much as I’m satisfied to complete the task.
The subject this time is The Queen of Zeitgeist, Lady Gaga.
The young lady behind the makeup has become a one-woman wrecking ball of entertainment. Sure, she has a gigantic team consisting of press, hair, makeup, wardrobe, PR, dancers, musicians, and travel…but if she doesn’t perform exactly right for her 90 minutes, everything would fall apart. While this is “rock n’roll” and her insane tour schedule is grueling (more on that later), one aspect of her, well, entire career I have an issue with is the one thing that makes this entire circus possible: money.
Mz. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta is one tough broad. Being thrust into the spotlight after trying for many years to even be noticed takes some backbone to survive. The amount of press and public life exposed would drain the toughest person, let alone a controversial figure who embodies both dialoge and disgust. Her two most recent tours are products of both her controversy and her hard work, but, more than anything, they are products of efficiency and return on investment.
First off, the following data was comprised using data found via Billboard.com and Wikipedia. While I would love to get into the justification for Wikipedia as a valid form of research, I will sum it up thusly: Knowledge gains power when more people can shape the “truth” and discuss its validity.
Up first is her initial gigantic tour, dubbed the “Fame Ball.” This was a seven month excursion that took her literally all over the world, just check out the breakdown of performances in a month.
Mar – 14
april – 6
may – 13
june – 4
july – 22
aug – 11
sep – 2
This means 72 out of 201 nights ended up in a Gaga performance, which is about 36%. The venues were smaller than the ones she plays now, as the box office data shows, giving her a 99.8% sellout rate across the eight shows we have data for. The data also shows a total gross revenue of $347,862 for those eight shows that house about 1,000-3,000 fans per show.
Now check out her latest tour, entitled “The Monster Ball,” which started in November of 2009 and IS STILL GOING ON:
Nov – 3
dec – 18
jan – 13
feb – 7
apr – 9
may – 15
jun – 4
jul – 18
aug – 15
sep – 10
oct – 9
nov – 15
dec – 10
jan – 0
feb – 6
march – 18
april – 14
may – 3
Barring any injury, natural disasters, or lack of egg vehicles, she’s on pace to increase her performance rate to 39% (201 shows out of 525 days).
Sadly, she also jacked up her ticket prices.
Take, for instance, her L.A. performances: the first was at The Wiltern, which houses a modest 3,700 people. That show sold out and grossed nearly $53k for Gags. She came back seven months later and sold out three nights at Nokia Theatre, which houses 6,800. Her gross for each Nokia show was $314,893.33333333333you get the fucking point…
She played to twice the crowd size and gained six times the cash IN THE SAME CALANDER YEAR.
This is atrocious.
But let’s look at the totality of The Monster Ball extrapolating some idea from the box office data. First off, the chick worked her ass off and is planning on touring for a staggering 525 days. That’s 201 times she has to sing “Poker Face,” which is about how many times I had to hear it a day, so maybe that’s fair. Tack on all the press, awards shows, flying, and other promotional stuff she is doing between shows and you can be amazed at how someone can continue going without the use of cocaine.
Billboard gives us data on 46 shows from 40 arenas around the world. A total of 862,783 tickets out of a possible 877,641 were sold, a staggering 98% sales rate. Only 15 were not sold out and the total gross data is nearly $80 million. If we say these 46 shows are indicative of the entire tour, and I do because the data is collected from gigantic stadiums (Bell Center, Staples Center) as well as smaller venues (Scotiabank in Ottawa, UCF in Orlando) and I trust the sample data. If she made $78,249,973 over the course of those 46 shows, then that makes her total gross close to $302 million when she is done in May.
This means she made $16 million a month without factoring in promotion and royalties.
Holy shit, I’m exhausted just typing this out, and I’m not sure if I have a point, except to say this:
Ask more from our artists. Please don’t spend over $100 to see the same show you paid $30 for six months prior. More power to Lady Gaga if she is doing her job well and giving what her fans are asking for, but I know they aren’t asking to triple the amount of cash they spend on a concert during a recession.