Slow Ticketing Helps Jay-Z Net $48.7M on 2017 Tour

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation
Jay-Z performs during his "4:44 Tour" at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Dec. 2, 2017 in Uniondale, New York. 

Higher prices and a push to keep tickets on the primary help rapper bank big on 4:44 Tour.

JAY-Z grossed $48.7 million on his 32-date 4:44 tour November and December, a vindication of sorts for the hip-hop star who faced rumors that a lack of instant sellouts meant soft demand.

Sales weren't bad -- they were just slow, as in slow ticketing. JAY-Z is the latest artist to embrace the slow ticketing model, blocking out bots and scalpers that instantly buy up tickets by pricing premium tickets higher and closer to their actual value (i.e. what they would fetch on secondary market sites like StubHub) while keeping less desirable seats relatively inexpensive. The move means more money for artists like JAY-Z through platinum ticket sales and VIP, while keeping upper-level seats relatively inexpensive and available to fans. 

Scalpers hate slow ticketing because it leaves them little room to markup premium seats and forces them to compete with rows of cheap seats sold directly by the artist. When Taylor Swift utilized a similar strategy for her 2018 Reputation Tour, many tried to argue the lack of instant sellouts was a result of tepid demand for Swift, only to find out the tour cleared an impressive $180 million in sales the first seven days tickets were on sale. 

For JAY-Z, the rapper sold 426,441 tickets on the 32-date tour, grossing $44.7 million in ticket sales and another $4 million in platinum and VIP tickets, averaging an impressive $1.5 million per show. That's up substantially from his other two solo treks -- the 2013-2014 Magna Carta Tour reported 42 shows to Billboard Boxscore with an attendance of 436,939 and $37.4 in ticket sales. JAY's 2009-2010 Blueprint 3 Tour grossed $33.1 million with 439,540 tickets sold for 39 shows, according to Billboard Boxscore.

Earlier this year, Billboard reported that Jay-Z had re-upped his 10-year deal with Live Nation, shifting away from his management business to focus on touring.