Forget the brown M&Ms. How much for a guest singer?
July 14, 2017 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Last Saturday I saw Gorillaz in Chicago. In the encore set they played 'Clint Eastwood' with special guest Del The Funky Homosapien. Collectively, the crowd lost their minds when he came out. How much did Del cost?

My friend and I got wondering how much it costs to bring out a special guest like him for just one song on one night with the following assumptions:
1. He was paid a fee which probably also had a cut go to management, assistants, and other support staff.
2. He flew in from California and wasn't already in Chicago; the cost of this flight was paid for him.
3. Lodgings were covered for him for 1-2 nights so he could be there for soundchecks/rehearsals and not have to fly back right after the show.
4. He had a reasonable, not too esoteric contract rider which included food and basic needs.

Our guess was USD $25,000 or more (up to $50,000).

What's a realistic breakdown and what was his likely take in the end?
posted by brokeaspoke to Work & Money (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
In this song from a few years back, featured rapper Q-tip brags about being paid $40,000 to perform the song live. So your guess is definitely in the ballpark.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:09 PM on July 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

How big was the venue? Will be possible to extrapolate from that
posted by stevedawg at 4:12 PM on July 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

With the caveat that I don't work at the Gorillaz level:

Your assumptions are entirely reasonable; note that flights, hotels, and food/beverage/etc (clean socks? carton of smokes?) needs most likely would be in addition to his performance fee.

stevedawg has a point, but back-of-the-envelope guesstimate math:

Huntington Bank Pavilion has a seating capacity of about 8700 in the pavilion, add another 20,000 if the lawn opened up. So, figuring sell out of the pavilion at $150/seat (based on prices for upcoming Gorillaz shows in similar venues) = $1,305,000. Figuring maybe half the lawn sold @ $60/seat, 10,000 x 60 = $600,000. For a total gross take of $1,905,000. Of which Gorillaz the Touring Organization (which would include a ton of rented/leased/purchased sound, lighting, and video equipment, plus technicians to set it up and operate it, plus trucks and drivers to get it around, plus various other support personnel (tour manager, stage manager, costumers, tour accountants)) would get about . . . . ehhhhh . . . . . *hand-waggling motion* . . . . call it 65 percent. $1,238,250.

So, somewhere between 25 to 50 K seems not out of line to bring their buddy (and co-writer) out to Chicago for a night. It's a sizable chunk of the night's take, but (probably) not so large that they wind up in the red.

probably also had a cut go to management, assistants, and other support staff.

Probably, yeah, but how much that is is *shrug* who the hell knows? I mean, management might get 25%, but what kind of "support staff" he might have and what he pays them are kinda unknowable without insider knowledge. This kind of thing is highly variable from artist to artist.

So, really, you & your friend can rest on your laurels knowing that your guesstimate was probably pretty darn close, and no-one without genuine insider works-for-Del's-managment-company info could give you any more details about how much actually wound up in Del's bank account.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:23 PM on July 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

A band I used to follow around covered Lionel Richie's 'All night long'. We would talk every now and then. In an effort to really blow our minds during a NYE show, they looked into getting LR to come out and perform the song with them. They said $50,000 just for him to step on stage.
posted by danep at 7:27 PM on July 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

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