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UPDATE: Can You Solve This Rolling Stones Tour Math Problem?

Like so many groups, the Rolling Stone were ripped off by managers, record labels, music publishers and promoters in their early years. Once he wised up, Mick Jagger vowed never to be taken advantage of again and hired Prince Rupert Lowenstein to oversee all the Stones’ finances. As we can see, he did a brilliant job.

That’s why I wasn’t terribly surprised to see this math problem show up in an accounting textbook. Thanks to Greggory for the photos.

Rolling Stones tour math copy


UPDATE:  This arrived in the inbox this morning from Jay:

Hey Alan,

Hope all is well!

My boss and owner of the magazine used to be a tour operator for the Stones for many years. I sent him your question and here’s what he responded with.

Talk soon,


$200 million gross or roughly 5,715,000 paid admissions.

This equation completely omits fees from service providers like my company ETS which, on this particular tour which I believe was Voodoo Lounge (1994). On that Tour we bought $2 million in tickets but also paid fees of an additional $600,000 to the Stones. I believe Michael Cohl (the Promoter) got more than a 14% share on that cash.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38536 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

3 thoughts on “UPDATE: Can You Solve This Rolling Stones Tour Math Problem?

  • Incomplete information. some of the figures are for a single show (2.45M ticket sales, 1.2M guaranteed, 20% of gross to stadium) but some others are for the entirety of the tour (7M t-shirts, 400K expenses). need to konw how many shows to figure out.

    And yes, I’m the geeky idiot who actually tried to figure it out.

  • By my math, the Stones do pretty well. If any date sells below 85% (which happened on the last tour) the producer makes no money (or loses money) on the gate. If they did a 78 date tour the Stones would net $93 Million and the producer would net $28 Million (add the $7 Million for t shirts and memorabilia and you get $35 Million). The Stones have no risk, the Producer does.

  • Sorry, to answer the question… Including the t shirts and memorabilia (and assuming 78 dates) they would need to be ~ 77% sold out to break even which equals ~$147 Million in gross sales dollars at the gate.


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