Jay-Z Threatens to Sue Digital Music News If We Don’t Change Our ‘4:44’ Tour Coverage

On Friday, we called Jay-Z’s ‘4:44’ tour a flop, citing massive unsold inventory and tickets dropping as low as $6.  Now, Jay-Z’s attorneys are demanding that we rip that article down.

Digital Music News thinks Jay-Z’s tour isn’t going so well.  Billboard is calling that same tour a wild success.

Which version is correct?

Now, Jay-Z is threatening legal action against Digital Music News if we don’t rip down our analysis of his ‘4:44’ tour.  In fact, his attorney says that Billboard’s coverage proves that our coverage is not only factually incorrect, but defamatory.

Here’s the letter that Jay-Z’s attorney emailed us this morning (yeah, it seriously starts with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’…)

“Dear Sir/Madam

This office serves as legal Counsel to Shawn (JAY-Z) Carter. We are writing in connection with the following article. https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2017/11/03/jay-z-444-tour-disaster/

Both the headline and content of this article is false.  I am attaching a link for a billboard article which contains more accurate facts regarding 4:44 tour sales.  

http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/8023168/jay-z-444-tour-highest-grossing-tickets-stubhub

We demand that you correct your story both in tone and content immediately.  We trust that now that you have correct facts you will not allow your errors to continue.  As I am sure you are aware knowledge of a story being false is a key component of a defamation action.

Please forgive any typographical errors in this informal email transmission delivered by phone.  

We ask that you confirm receipt and that you are taking action immediately.    My client’s rights and claims against you are reserved. 

Thank you, 
Andrew Kupinse 
Cummings & Lockwood LLC
203 351 4174 

Sent from my iPhone”

In response, we have asked Mr. Kupinse to please inform us which sections of the article he believes are false.  But ahead of that response, here are some facts to consider about Jay-Z’s ‘4:44’ tour.

Fact #1: You could buy a ticket to Jay-Z’s recent recent show in Anaheim, CA for as little as $6.

That ticket was available on StubHub, and indicates extremely weak demand for the show.  By contrast, if demand for a show is extremely strong, it would be practically impossible to purchase a ticket for $6 — from anyone (at least without a gun).

But beyond that, multiple tickets were also available to the Anaheim show for $11.  All of these tickets were posted on Twitter.

These are clearly facts.  How do you interpret those facts?

Billboard says that a $6 ticket is part of a broader, highly-successful sales strategy employed by Jay-Z.  Here’s how Billboard characterized the presence of a $6 bargain-basement ticket with plenty of unsold inventory.  Note that Billboard refers to multiple tickets — not just one — hitting the $6 price point.

“The JAY-Z tickets selling for $6 a pop on StubHub don’t reflect soft demand for his tour: they’re actually a sign that the hip-hop star has successfully priced ticket scalpers out of the game by charging market rates for the best seats in the house.”

We’re having some difficulty understanding this logic, but welcome an explanation that makes sense.

Fact #2: Multiple cities on the ‘4:44’ tour have tickets selling below $10.

That includes an upcoming date in Sacramento on December 17th.  Currently, StubHub is selling a massive amount of tickets for that show at $9.50.

Again, here’s evidence of that fact: a screenshot of those tickets taken this afternoon.

Here’s a screenshot of $8.55 tickets for the upcoming Nashville show.  This screenshot was taken yesterday.

Fact #3.  There are plenty of other bargain tickets available across numerous other ‘4:44’ dates.

Here are a few examples:

Orlando, FL

Dallas, TX

New Orleans, LA

Fact #4: Jay-Z Canceled His Tour Date In Fresno, CA.

This is also a confirmed fact.  People in Fresno purchased tickets to see the rapper, then got refunds once the date was cancelled.

So what does that mean?

A cancellation doesn’t necessarily show soft demand.  But it offers strong evidence in that direction.  And given the performance of other ‘B markets,’ it looks like Jay-Z canceled Fresno to avoid an embarrassingly unfilled venue.

Fact #5: Less than one day before Jay-Z’s show in Dallas, massive amounts of tickets are available across virtually every section of the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX.

And this is on Ticketmaster, the primary market for buying 4:44 tickets.

(A ‘secondary market’ involves tickets being resold, often at a markup.  StubHub is an example of that.  Also, Ticketmaster now blends secondary into its primary market as well.)

Here’s a quick rundown of the availability in Dallas.  At the time of this writing, we found entire sections largely unsold, with ‘100+’ seats available at low prices.

In total, we found a minimum 4,000 tickets available at a range of different price points — just one day before the gig.  Many sections only listed available seats of ‘100+,’ indicating far greater inventory.

Blue = available seats. Any questions?

And here’s a rundown of the availability (by price point).  As you can see, a massive glut remains around the cheap ($34.50) seats.

All of which could explain why tickets were getting dumped for $6 at the last minute in Anaheim.

Of course, that’s only one market.  Others are demonstrating similar issues, especially when you start digging into the numbers.

In fact, many are much worse given that they are further into the future.

But perhaps a head-to-head comparison between Jay-Z and Lady Gaga in Los Angeles offers the best case study.

Both artists are playing The Forum within days of one another.

Gaga easily commands higher prices across all seats.  As of this writing, Gaga’s seats start at $91.  And closer seats easily blow past $1,000.

By comparison, Jay-Z’s tickets start at $39.  And you can currently purchase a seat in the fourth row for less than $350.  That isn’t even a possibility at Gaga’s ‘Joanne’ tour, where $350 puts you ten rows back.

And the biggest difference?

You won’t see a $6 ticket for Lady Gaga’s show — from any seller.

 


 

43 Responses

  1. Avatar
    William

    Facts are facts. I hope you keep at it here Paul, regardless of what his attorney says.

  2. Avatar
    Vail, CO

    Just shows how weak Jay-Z’s career really is that instead of trying to rework the tour strategy he starts suing the internet.

  3. Avatar
    Bob

    So, one day before the event in Dallas you found online listings for 4,000 available tickets in an arena that seats approximately 20,000. That means roughly 16,000 seats or 80% have been sold in advance. Yet in your original article headline and subhead you claim the “tour is a disaster” with “half-filled stadiums.” Do you have problems with both math and recognizing the difference between a stadium and an arena?

    • Avatar
      Vail, CO

      It’s called a fire sale. Cheap tix to fill entirely unsold sections. Compare that to a hot artist. 100% full weeks before.

      • Avatar
        Bob

        Yes but that still doesn’t change the fact that DMN’s original headline and article are grossly inaccurate. 80%-filled is not the same thing as “half-filled.” But then again we are talking about DMN where truth and facts never stand in the way of a good clickbait headline and false hyperbole.

        • Avatar
          ©

          Only one show shows 80% of seats being sold. Remember that Fresno was cancelled so the fire sale is applicable in cases where the show is doing better which is a bad sign for JayZ (who I am a fan of BTW).
          It also is revealing that there are other shows at The Forum during the same week as his show (like Lady Gaga who I am not a fan of) with tickets starting at $100

      • Avatar
        Emeline

        Most of the tickets Resnikoff mentions are impaired vision seats, as in behind stand and structures…those would be the cheapest tickets of any event…what’s his “beef” with JZ concert tickets…what is it his business to begin with?

  4. Avatar
    someone who knows

    A lot of dates are half filled or less than that. Nashville, Portland, a few others they want to cancel like they did Fresno though hard to do now that everyone’s watching for that. Only way out is to fake Jay z getting shot or some accident, you’ll see

  5. Avatar
    Dave Brooks

    As much I am trying not to get sucked in, I must say this is extremely entertaining

  6. Avatar
    A Lawyer

    This is an extremely difficult case to win for Jay Z, very very difficult. First you have Resnikoff who I think has a law degree + ample money probably (2 companies sold) + already obviously preparing his defense with counsel (first step: presentation of facts, on which opinions (protected by First Amendment) are based) + engaging attorney to specify this ridiculously vague complaint (tip to Jay Z: your attorney sucks get a new one)
    Remember this is the guy who has taken down an entire company stupid enough to try to sue him (GrooveShark) + got a multi-million settlement off a rapper who attacked him with a champagne bottle. All depends if Mr Jay Z’s ego is stupid enough to start a suicide mission like this.

    • Avatar
      Joe Mob

      HAHAHA. Has has no law degree. Not any graduate degree. He’s never sold any companies. He has no money. He’s been running this sad blog for years and still writes everything himself.

  7. Avatar
    Lloyd

    This does not mean that his your is a flop. Can we entertain a possibility that a sponsorship payed for a portion of the tickets and gave way gro a cheaper price in these areas?

  8. Avatar
    Lloyd

    This does not mean that his your is a flop. Can we entertain a possibility that sponsorship payed for a portion of the tickets and gave way for a cheaper price in these areas?

  9. Avatar
    site is a joke

    About time this joke of a site gets sued… This site is the cancer of digital music. Hopefully the costs make it shut down for good, enough is enough!!!

    • Avatar
      Deep Freeze

      obviously you have not been around very long….this is not DMN’s first rodeo.

  10. Avatar
    forcemm

    Paul, based on your numbers the tour could be doing 70% to 80% biz in most markets.

    Lowballing it with 70% sold across all dates and also clawing back the majority of tickets away from secondary market it’s quite likely it’s his highest grossing tourwhen you bring all that secondary revenue back into his gross.

  11. Avatar
    Bill F

    This can’t be about preventing scalping. You’d better believe those blood suckers would buy ALL of the $6 tickets and sell them for $10 if there was ANY demand.

  12. Avatar
    phil mccrevice

    Jay z is a thug and as such so are all the people around him including his idiotic lawyers and minion trolls. Maybe if he didn’t hate whitey so much more people would be inclined to go to his concerts, not to mention he is an old man playing a young man’s game.

    • Avatar
      Matrixshopping

      Funny he hates whitey. So how did he make so much money so far. If hating a guy name whitey makes me so rich where do I sign up. Lmao and yes I know….

  13. Avatar
    Teh Humanz

    No shame in a 25 year career. Jay Z had a great run but this is making him look like a petty 1 percenter.

  14. Avatar
    Robert Simmons

    Who gives a shit, goes to show you he’s not on top on anymore and his ass is crying for what? Fuck ‘Em!

    • Avatar
      Ryan

      He’s not on top of what anymore? Because of a ticketing dispute? Huh? It’s probably not even Jay-Z arguing this, it’s the people around him

  15. Avatar
    Ryan

    To be honest, I don’t understand why the original 4:44 article was posted in the first place. What are you trying to gain from reporting a weak tour? The worst thing that’s going to happen is low to middle class fans can now afford tickets. Even if your information is true, one weak tour isn’t going to dethrone Jay-Z or make him any less valuable as an artist.

    • Avatar
      super lame

      his e-p**is needs to be bigger. First he needs to trash Spotify the maximum he can. Posts an article how a streamify user got few million streams and how little he got paid (too dumb to understand streamify offers freemium streams), and blames spotify! LMAO!!!
      Then Ari, a person who writes articles here, gets into streamify, ignoring the fact there’s been a lot of talk about it here in the past and users posting how they got removed for only 1.000 streamify streams. Somehow managed to miss this? I mean it’s the same site.

      Now , since there’s nothing to report and he needs more traffic, he needs to bash Jay Z who is a great musician .. Along with Tidal and pretty much everything, is there anything in music that this site is not bashing ???

      According to this site, you should use streamify and get 4k $ from millions of freemium streams, buy Ari’s book and get banned from Spotify and ultimately bash anyone and anything, including Jay Z.

      I’m not even a fan of Jay Z, to clarify … But this site is worse than a kindergarten discussing music.

      There are so many DMN fails I can’t even mention them all in one comment.
      Someone with half a brain will probably understand what I’m saying.

      • Avatar
        Blobbo

        yeah, great MUSICIAN – a guy who can’t play a single instrument at all or sing. His job is mutter and grunt on mic, and say, yeah, yeah yeah at the beginning of every song.

        Hmmm, maybe millenials are sick of that bs finally. Rap had its day. It’s over. Put it in a box and bury it for good. Rap is a market by and for children. There will always be a rail for rap, but it’s pretty much 12-25 year olds, and then people outgrow it. When it was new, it had some play because people recognized it’s political content, which it mostly doesn’t have now. It’s a total minstrel show now. Public Enemy and NWA aren’t out there to scare the man any longer. It’s a BS form of playing at music. Compared to every other form it’s a joke. It’s in the basement with modern country music.

    • Avatar
      ©

      I don’t think it invalidates him as an artist, he has written some of my favorite rap albums. I even like Blueprint 3 even though it had some weak rhymes, it had some amazing beats and production. I had a hard time with 4:44 and his last one but that’s just me.
      I think its totally fair to cover this as news on this site. It’s totally industry specific.

    • Avatar
      Matrixshopping

      The point of this blog is to make money off of you who came here. I was searching for voice over for jay z and got here.

  16. Avatar
    dhenn

    Yeah, because a real lawyer would send one media outlet the link to a story on another media outlet as proof their story is incorrect. JayZ and his “lawyer” are a joke.

  17. Avatar
    Kenzie

    I was at the Dallas show and if it wasn’t sold out, it looked close to it. But don’t let silly things like facts and first hand accounts get in the way of your agenda

  18. Avatar
    Ltia Bee

    sir, you posted false story, just say you were wrong and move on.
    this is really sound dumb. you’re doing most without fact.
    If this is what you’re doing as journalist.. then sigh.

    A. StubHub is re-sale site. not the first sale from livenation/jay-z .
    so what they’re saying is they sold it, so StubHub’s price is not a problem to them.
    because they sold it on their face value, the resellers are the one losing money.

    “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.
    Conversely, the strategy takes pricing pressure off the upper-level seating sections. Priced out of the top tier, many ticket brokers are stuck buying and selling tickets in the upper bowl. And since consumers can still choose between buying the same seat on the primary or the secondary, many brokers end up selling off tickets below face value, taking a loss.” per billboard

    what part did you not understand on the billboard article?
    for another information, If you don’t cancel your tickets in 3days after purchase, you can’t refund. or if the concert is under like 7 days, no refund.
    all those StubHub cheap tickets are meaningless, in terms of gross.

    B. it’s true that his tour is not sold out on every date. some might have thousands tickets left. still no half empty. and you know why he has thousand tickets left?
    because his tour has center stage which allow 3~4k tickets more than side stage.
    so his tour having unsold 3~4k ticket? still great number because it’s almost sold out in avg concert.
    If you did your job as journalist, you should know those simple differences..
    especially on music new website. lol

    so with 3~4k more tickets on venue + higher prices on great seats, his tour sold more tickets so far and have more gross.

    “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.” per billboard

    • Avatar
      Blobbo

      Sounds like you and Trump received the same level of education.

      • Avatar
        Ltia Bee

        lol. irony, when the writer and some of you are the one that believe anything on internet without fact checking.
        and I’m the one who did fact check.
        no wonder trump won the election. trump antis are dumb as trump supporter. water is wet, people on internet is dumb.

  19. Avatar
    Blobbo

    Jay Z is a bore, so is his wife, although she clearly put on enough of a spectacle to draw an audience.

    These two have been celebrated as America’s greatest artists for too long when one is an average rapper, and the other is an average singer. Enough already. Find someone with some real TALENT to push to the top of the media pyramid. People are sick of this garbage style of children’s music anyway.

    They want adult songwriters in bands, people that can get the job done like artists used to do. R&B was just a style, not the entire market, and the R&B of old was the real deal, not this sample-driven, lame-o voice garbage. The music industry is a joke, and financial failure is the result.

  20. Avatar
    web guy

    Crush them, don’t back down. Facts are facts. Monsanto has tried the same BS against me. I never caved. You will be fine.