The cheap seats aren’t even selling. And the arenas are half full. Is it over? Jay-Z is now facing lackluster demand and sagging ticket prices on his ‘4:44’ tour.
Update: Jay-Z has threatened legal action against Digital Music News over this article. Here’s the latest on that.
Jay-Z is accustomed to multi-platinum albums and sold-out shows. But this time around, fans didn’t even know where to find 4:44. And they seem equally uninterested in seeing the rapper live.
As the 4:44 circus train leaves the station, fans are leaking some moribund details. Tickets are largely going unsold, with bargain basement deals surfacing.
That includes a shockingly-low $6 seat in Anaheim (see above).
And maybe that’s the first of many. On that same date, $11 tickets were plentiful.
Other dates are woefully undersold.
A quick look at Ticketmaster shows a massive number of unsold seats in markets like Denver, Dallas, and Los Angeles.
A Dallas show scheduled for November 7th offers a stunning look at the situation. Just days ahead of the gig, most sections have plenty of tickets available. That includes lower-priced, $34 nosebleeds, which are plentiful.
Updated (November 5th): Jay-Z has cancelled a scheduled performance in Fresno, as tickets drop below $10 in numerous cities.
But higher-priced tickets approaching $200 are also plentiful, suggesting that bigger spenders are saving for other gigs. Or, looking to score a last-minute bargain.
A December show in Los Angeles at the Forum is also struggling to attract fans. Even Jay-Z’s hometown Brooklyn is hurting, with thousands of unsold seats at the Barclay Center. Both dates are only several weeks away.
The lackluster tour follows a questionable streaming strategy around 4:44.
Instead of a broad release, Jay-Z insisted on limiting 4:44 to TIDAL and Sprint subscribers. He purposefully withheld the release from Spotify, a move that may have crushed awareness and interest.
Somehow, 4:44 grabbed a #1 spot on the Billboard charts on 262,000 ‘album equivalent’ units. Before that, it quickly earned a platinum certification from the RIAA. But that was based on ‘free’ album downloads to existing Sprint subscribers. In other words, Sprint bought the albums, not actual fans.
All of which made for great headlines and a shiny platinum plaque. But it won’t be enough to fill 4:44 shows.
More broadly, Jay Z’s war against Spotify may be proving disastrous. TIDAL remains completely niche, despite massive backing from Sprint.
All of which seems to be making the 4:44 album and tour completely niche as well. No matter what the headlines say.