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Is Madonna’s MDNA Tour Tanking?

Madonna
Christopher Polk, Getty Images

There are two opposite opinions and perspectives of how Madonna‘s upcoming 66-date MDNA world tour, which launches in Tel Aviv next month, is performing, ticket sales-wise. Of course, her business partner Live Nation, with whom she has a $120 million, 360-deal where it profits from all of her revenue streams, says the tour is on track to be one of the biggest of all time. Other sources say its tanking due to aggressively priced tickets. So which is it, since it can’t be both?

‘MDNA’ has been considered a commercial flop, since it sold 359,000 copies its first week in stores and only 19,000 its third. That’s an astronomical drop off. The album sold well during its bow as it was offered for free with a ticket purchase and a first week pricing strategy designed to dazzle with its first week tallies. The most expensive tickets top out at $300, which is outrageous in this economy. Since Live Nation is tied into all of her moneymaking endeavors, if the album tanks, the company is affected by that.

“Sales were brisk for the first few days and then they tapered off,” a source told The New York Post. “It doesn’t mean she won’t sell out, but it may take longer than they expected.”

However, tour producer Arthur Fogel, chairman of Live Nation Global Touring, refuted the claims. Stats indicate that the overall deal is healthy, since Madge’s 2008-2009 Sticky and Sweet tour was the first under her 360 agreement and it grossed $408 million overall. That’s not shabby at all. Madonna’s tour business is healthy, and is the biggest component of the deal. The first album, only a small part of the deal, may not be hotter than the sun, but the other elements are doing well.

“This tour is completely on track to end up in the top 10 tours of all time, especially considering we haven’t put South America or Australia on sale,” Fogel said. “To say this tour is not performing is so off base I don’t even know what to say. When this tour is said and done, combined with ‘Sticky and Sweet,’ you’re talking $750 million in gross ticket sales. That sounds pretty impressive to me.”

Billboard.biz shared these stats: 76 gigs are on sale in North America and Europe combined. More than 1.4 million tickets have been sold, raking in $214 million. The average is $2.7 million per show, which hit stadiums and arenas.

Just because the tour is not totally sold out yet does not mean the death knell for Madonna in the live realm. At all. The European dates have been under a microscope, but the buying patterns are different. Madge’s domestic promotion has been strong, bolstered by her Super Bowl appearance.

“She’s at the top of her game and she ain’t goin’ away,” Fogel declared.

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