Randy Phillips profile: Michael Jackson’s promoter is making all the right moves
"He’s 50 but he’s going to dance his ass off," says the confident,
quick-talking Randy Phillips, chief executive of AEG Live and Concert promoter. "He’s working on a new move. Something like the
Moonwalk, but different."
13 Mar 2009
This precise, organisational mastermind has kicked up a global ticketing storm
just four months after a high-pitched "yes" was uttered from Jackson’s lips. The pair go back 15 years – they lost touch, but after the
promoter joined AEG he made a "hit list" of acts to entice.
Jackson was at the top.
"We finally made Mohammed come to the mountain of the O2," Phillips
grins. Jackson refused twice, but several months ago, the idea arose…
"They make out Michael’s finances are much more dire than they are,"
Phillips assures me. But he needed the cash, right? "I asked him
straight off: why say yes to the tour now? Was it the money? He said: you
know what, my kids are old enough now." Jackson agreed to do 10 dates
for AEG, before relenting to 40 more. The star "worships" London,
but plans to stay in a country house where his children can play.
He estimates Jackson will make $50m-$100m from the London dates. This could
rise to $500m if he does a world tour.
So how much is AEG getting out of this? Phillips laughs. "We’re not in
this for the money. Forgetting tickets,
the local economy will get $500m."
Things haven’t gone entirely seamlessly for AEG since they put their money
behind Jackson. Most tickets are being sold straight to fans for £50-£75.
But AEG claims its premium ticket partner, Viagogo offered seats for re-sale
in bulk, allowing touts and other re-sellers to push up prices. A court has
now ordered Viagogo to stop selling to anyone not believed to be an
individual fan, until a further hearing.
Another potential hitch is that they do not yet have insurance covering
Jackson’s appearance at all 50 gigs – but Phillips insists any risk will be
worth it. "If Mike gets too nervous to go on, I’ll throw him over my shoulder and
carry him on stage. He’s light enough."
In recent days, there has been furious speculation about Jackson’s health,
which Phillips dismisses. "Making up rumours about Michael Jackson is a
cottage industry," he exclaims. "We were having dinner when I got
a Google alert that he had a flesh-eating disease. He was sitting opposite,
healthy as ever."
Among the other urban myths he demolishes: Jackson is not as weird as many may
think, but a devoted parent.
"Phil had to give me permission to spend all this money. I joke that I’m
going to make him a millionaire – from a billionaire." Anschutz
has been described as prickly, but Phillips says he is "respectful, a
good listener and brilliant".
"We have the biggest artist in the world at the best arena in the
best city," Phillips declares, digesting the news that 750,000 tickets
have sold out in five hours. He has the satisfied look of a man who has just
pulled off an inconceivably ambitious plan. Telegraph.co.uk
SOLD OUT for the KING of POP!
750000 tickets for Jackson concerts sell in 4 hours
Jackson to play 50 gigs at the O2
|FULL LIST OF DATES CONFIRMED:|
|July 2009||8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30|
|August 2009||1, 3, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26, 28, 30|
|September 09||1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 21, 23, 27, 29|
|January 2010||7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 18, 23, 25, 27, 29|
|February 2010||1, 3, 8, 10, 12, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24|
12 March 2009
The 50-year-old has added new shows throughout the first two months of the year, ending on 24 February.
Some 360,000 pre-sale tickets have been sold so far and if all
50 dates sell out, Jackson will have sold a million seats for the run
Organisers say the This Is It tour has become the fastest selling in history, with more than 333 seats sold each minute.
Jackson is said to be "thrilled" by the response.
Randy Phillips of promoters AEG Live said: "Not only are these concerts unparalleled, these records will never be broken.
"We knew this was show business history, but this is a cultural phenomenon."
BBC News UK
Michael Jackson mania returns as fans scramble for London concert tickets
fans of a certain age reverted to their teenage selves as Michael
Jackson mania gripped the world yesterday for the first time in 12
By Louise Armitstead
12 Mar 2009
Nearly 350,000 tickets to see the King of Pop perform in
London this summer were sold after presale window opened yesterday at
Tickets for 10 shows announced for the tour that Mr Jackson, 50, said would be his final in Britain sold-out within minutes.
More dates were rapidly offered and by the end of the day a total of
27 shows had been sold prompting organisers, who put up half the
tickets in the presale window, to claim a record despite the tickets
not being officially on sale until tomorrow.
A total of 30 shows are being planned, which, at the 22,000-capacity venue and at about £70 a ticket, will gross over £2m.
Mr Jackson also stands to make further millions from spin-off merchandise, television syndication and DVD sales.
Phillips, the president and chief executive of AEG Live, the tour
promoter, has said that the singer will receive around £50m for the
The website for the The O2, the venue for the shows,
crashed in the scramble that gripped fans across the world including
North Korea, Afganistan, Congo and Sri Lanka and Australia.
The technical breakdown sparked anger among fans who accused the organisers for wildly underestimating the level of demand.
types of problems usually only occur when the appropriate levels of
planning and testing were omitted," said Martin Stern, of Keynote
Systems, an online expert. "Flash crowds should have been anticipated
for a Michael Jackson event."
Chris Edmonds, managing director of
Ticketmaster, the site selling official tickets said: "We have
witnessed an unprecedented level of demand for the Michael Jackson
concerts at The O2.
"Unfortunately due to a technical issue, we
were unable to facilitate all immediate ticket requests. Apologies to
those fans who were unable to log on." Hopeful fans had already been through a protracted process before the presale tickets went on offer yesterday.
the press conference held at the O2 last Thursday, in which
Jackson repeatedly declared "this is it", fans had to register online and
wait for a text or an email last night that then delivered a password
for the presale window.
Millions of fans are said to have registered with just a few thousand managing to snap up tickets.
demand has defied critics who predicted that the superstar’s
career was finished.
Jackson’s 10-date UK residency at the
O2 will be his first live shows for 12 years. The day after his press
conference, tickets that had not even been printed were selling on eBay
for more than £300. The Michael Jackson official website was being
bombarded with 16,000 hits a second.