Together and with The Power of We, we can start a revolution. One Soul at a time... ~Jon Bon Jovi *** There's a Story on every street corner, my friend. All you have to do is open your eyes... ~Richie Sambora

Forbes' Celebrity 100...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Still Rocking


Over the past 12 months Bon Jovi earned more than Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry--combined. How did that happen?


 

The next time you play Rock Band don't invite Jon Bon Jovi. The 49- year-old singer's wife and kids recently convinced him to give the popular videogame a try. So he picked up the microphone and launched into a rendition of his classic "Wanted Dead or Alive," backed by family on virtual guitars and drums. He never made it through the song.

"I failed--it buzzed me down," Bon Jovi admits over lunch in Manhattan. "So I stood up off the couch and I said, 'All right, goddamn it, press play.' They did it again, I failed again, and I said, 'Everybody's going to bed. That's the end of this. Turn that shit off.'"

Fortunately for Bon Jovi, audiences in real arenas around the world are kinder. His eponymous band took home $125 million over the past 12 months by FORBES' estimates, more than any other music act besides U2--and more than relative whippersnappers Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Kanye West combined. In the past year the band has played 74 gigs in 15 nations, grossing $203 million in ticket sales and $20 million in merchandise; Bon Jovi ranks No. 8 on this year's Celebrity 100.

Surprised? Bon Jovi out-earns younger, glitzier acts thanks to a relatively affluent, aging fan base who turn out to hear the ballads of their youth and see a tightly run touring machine built on decades of experience.

"They're one of the highest-grossing bands every year," says veteran concert promoter Ron Delsener. "Jon is a workaholic, constantly touring, constantly making loads of money."

Whereas Lady Gaga schleps dozens of dancers from town to town and needs 28 trucks to cart her equipment, Bon Jovi typically plays with six people. A dozen trucks carry the gear, including a circular stage and 192 double-sided LED video screens connected with a specially designed motion control system, which allows them to come together to form a screen 13 feet high and 40 feet wide. At arenas like Montreal's 21,500-capacity Bell Center, the in-theround setup lets the band sell up to 5,500 more tickets than a traditional arena stage would. Wherever possible Bon Jovi plays consecutive nights at the same venue to cut back on setup and strike costs. By playing 12 shows in 19 days at London's O2 arena the band saved $300,000.

"It wasn't some conscious decision to be penny-pinching. I think it's just wise to be efficient," says Bon Jovi. "I know big bands where each of them has personal assistants on the road, each of them has a security guard. We don't have a security guard. Take your own friggin' bags!"

On the revenue side the band's U.S. fans sport an average household income of $78,989, slightly higher than the mean for the 350 music groups tracked by research firm NPD's Brand Link database. The economic difference between Bon Jovi's fans and those of, say, Justin Bieber ($71,389) or Metallica ($71,089) is more than enough to cover a pricey special like the Crush Package, which comes with a grab bag of perks and tchotchkes, including souvenir lanyards, autographed lithographs and two front-row seats that you can fold up and take home after the show. The average cost for this VIP treatment is $2,550 per couple; lowend alternatives set you back $450. Bon Jovi sells an average of 600 individual special package tickets per arena show.

Though regular tickets start at $20, these packages push Bon Jovi's average price to $95, about 50% higher than acts like the Dave Matthews Band ($59) and the Black Eyed Peas ($63). Bon Jovi shows have up to 20 different price points, including special packages; on a recent tour AC/DC offered only one.


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I am and always have been a Bon Jovi fan. This blog is just my obsession taken a step further, my imagination in high gear if you will. I love to read and decided to see what would happen when I took that love of the written word and ramped it up a bit.

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