The Eagles Will Play For Your Kid’s Birthday Party – For a (Very) Large Sum of Money
They say money can't buy love, but if the price is right, you can probably lease a fair amount of love - and you can certainly rent a world-famous artist or band to entertain your guests for an upcoming event. Just bring your checkbook, and make sure the number you scribble on the check contains a few extra zeroes.
The number of billionaires in the US has reportedly tripled since 2000, to 770, according to Entrepreneur Magazine. Apparently the uber-wealthy don't hesitate spending money to spoil their kids or make a favorable impression with their filthy-rich friends, and that includes hiring major artists to play private gigs. According to Billboard and The New Yorker, the Eagles received six million dollars from an unnamed client in New York City for a single performance of “Hotel California”. Wow.
In industry parlance, these one-offs are called "privates" - showing up to play at a rich guy's birthday party or an especially lavish bar mitzvah. Forbes and Fox Business report that Motorola CEO Greg Brown reportedly paid Bruno Mars $3.2 million to play at his son’s wedding in 2021, during the pandemic. Beyoncé tops the list after she was paid $24 million to play at the launch of Dubai hotel ‘Atlantis The Royal’, according to tabloid reports including TMZ and The Sun (UK).
Rolling Stone reports that, increasingly, musicians and party planners have to sign nondisclosure agreements. Guests turn in their cellphones to avoid unlicensed recordings and photos leaking on social media. Apparently, many artists don't want details getting out about where they performed or how much they charged.
According to a post at The Hustle, artists taking private gigs have included Paul McCartney, Elton John, Sting, Andrea Bocelli, Jon Bon Jovi, Diana Ross, Black Eyed Peas, and Eric Clapton.
Many artists want to know who they're playing for, even if their clients can pay the big fees, but sometimes mistakes and oversights happen. Forbes reports in 2011, Beyoncé and Nelly Furtado faced backlash for playing for Libyan dictator Muammar Gadaffi; they eventually donated their $2 million profit to charity. Oops.
Everything is for sale if the price is right. Right? But The Hustle and Rolling Stone report that some artists, including Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift, and AC/DC won't take private gigs at any price.
In a world where some people have more money than sense - that's reassuring.