Did you hear about the big u2 concert coming up in San Francisco on October 5? No? That’s because the general public isn’t invited.
U2 has been booked to perform a private corporate gig, a one-off for Salesforce.com, the customer relationship software company that makes gazillions of dollars. They’re having their annual convention and needed a band to play the party for the employees. Since they have a reputation of booking the biggest—Metallica played such a show a few years back—they didn’t have any trouble calling up U2. And they said “yes”
Before anyone gets bent out of shape, there’s really nothing wrong with this. No one is selling records like they used to anymore, so artists are finding new sources of revenue. Private gigs–a semi-open secret within the music industry–are an easy way of making up the revenue shortfall.
Bob Dylan has played such shows. So has Paul McCartney. Drake does this kind of thing all the time. Hell, he’ll even play your bat mitzvah if you have the cash. (Seriously. He will.)
Outside of playing for dictators—ask Jennifer Lopez and Sting about that—Silicon Valley and tech gigs are a legitimate source of beasy money. When Blackberry was still a big deal, they rented the Air Canada Centre in Toronto and had a private show for employees featuring the Tragically Hip and Van Halen.
So how much is U2 getting paid for this one-off? The Rolling Stones do this sort of thing from time to time and they get somewhere in the neighbourhood of $5 million for a two-hour show. Take it from there.
Interesting how the music industry has evolved, isn’t it?