Is Coachella worth it for artists?
Earlier this week, Coachella got sued for demanding that artists sign ‘radius clauses’ of 1,300 miles over five months. Which means you can’t play another show within that giant radius for 2.5 months before — and 2.5 months after — the festival. That includes performances in far-away cities like Denver and even Seattle.
Now, rapper Cardi B — a Coachella newcomer — is revealing some seriously lopsided financials.
In an interview this week with Sirius XM, the Bronx-based rapper revealed that Coachella was paying her $70,000 per performance. That’s $140,000 for the double-weekend. Just one problem: the cost for setting up the stage is $300,000 — per show. And Coachella is paying $0 of that.
“When I was talking to my [manager], he was like, ‘Man, you don’t understand, we’re putting $600,000 on that stage set,” the rapper relayed.
Sounds like the rapper signed a horrible deal. Of course, $600,000 also sounds steep for a stage setup, though Coachella owner AEG isn’t contributing. And in the interview, the rapper admitted that she didn’t quite understand what she was getting into when contracts were signed 6-7 months ago. “I’m getting paid for Coachella, like 70 bandos [$70,000] a day — yeah — so it’s just like, I done got booked for this.”
“And then it’s like, I have to invest so much money on my stage set, my own money that I gotta go to Wells Fargo and write a check that it’s crazy. Like, almost $300,000 [per weekend].”
A quick math exercise reveals the staggering losses.
$70,000 x 2 = $140,000 in payments from the festival over two weekends. But $300,000 x 2 = $600,000 in costs, which leads to the $460,000 in losses. And that doesn’t even cover additional expenses like travel, rehearsal, and salaries for backup musicians, performers, and tour staff. All in, Cardi B is probably sinking more than half-a-million for the pleasure of playing Coachella.
Regardless, Cardi B is going ahead with the performance, viewing it as an ‘investment’. Then again, the rapper made it pretty clear that backing out of the deal was almost unthinkable. The fallout from canceling would be extremely serious for Cardi B’s future live performance career, including the possibility of securing plum slots at other festivals.
The first weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival kicks off in Indio, CA this weekend.