As Missouri Western prepares for the annual Spring Concert, it remains to be seen if the “Money Maker”-Ludacris- will be able to end WAC’s losing streak.
Since 2009, the Spring Concert has received 74 percent less in revenues, while paying its artists 11 percent more to perform. Because of this, WAC has lost over 21 percent more on the Spring Concert in 2014 than it did in 2009.
Within the past five years, WAC’s biggest event has cost them a big chunk of change, with amounts growing from $60,000 to $80,000. These costs include the costs of artists, along with various concert expenditures that vary in price from year to year.
With Ludacris alone costing $85,000, WAC may see large amounts continued to be pulled from their budget this year if revenue patterns follow the ongoing trend.
Ludacris was chosen by WAC’s director of music Reyhan Wilkinson, along with advisor Isaiah Collier and vice president Julia Buesher. Both Collier and Buesher declined to interviews.
WAC is given $60,000 from SGA to pay for an artist, but changes in the budget allow the music director more freedom in choosing that year’s artist.
“We can play around with different things in the budget,” Wilkinson said. “This year we spent about $85-$90,000 on artists.”
With a budget of around $100,000 for the concert each year, WAC requested an additional $30,000 from SGA’s rollover this year. Although they were denied the increase, WAC is prepared to lose money on the event.
“It is a very common trend for them to lose at least 5 digits every single year,” SGA president Daniel Hager, said. “That’s not anyone’s fault; that’s just how it has been ever since we’ve been putting on a Spring Concert.”
In 2009, WAC paid over $58,000 for country artist Blake Shelton and Bluegrass duo Joey and Rory to perform. Even without a student ticket fee, 2009 brought the most revenue for WAC to date, with almost $40,000. Because of this large amount of revenue, WAC lost only $62,000 on the concert.
Rock bands Puddle of Mudd and Saliva cost over $50,000 and received over $30,000 in revenue the following year. After another year of high revenue, the concert cost WAC $61,000, making it the least-expensive concert in five years, despite the $93,000 in expenses.
Between 2010 and 2011, the money lost on the Spring Concert increased by 11 percent when hip-hop artists J.Cole and Jeremih performed for $45,000. Despite lower artist prices, WAC lost $70,000 on this event that only produced $3,600 in revenue.
In 2012, country artist Sara Evans and Shooting Blanks performed for $61,000, and WAC received $14,300 in revenue. Although the WAC saw an increase in revenue, the concert still cost nearly $70,000.
WAC lost the most in 2013 when the concert for 3OH!3, an American electronic duo, received no recorded revenue. This 20 percent increase in net loss from 2012 cost WAC over $85,000, and a $5 student ticket fee was instituted the following year.
This fee was introduced to offset the cost of higher caliber, award-winning future artists, according to WAC’s advisor Isaiah Collier. Last year, 312 students paid for tickets and an additional 200 were given away.
Wilkinson also believes that the fee will help bring in more popular artists for the Spring Concert.
“When you’re trying to reach a wider range of students, you’re going to go for a more popular artist, and those artists are more expensive,” Wilkinson said. “As long as we keep setting our bar higher, there’s going to be some type of fee in ticket prices for students.”
Despite this new student ticket fee, B.O.B. and SoMo’s performance brought only $10,000 in revenue after WAC paid over $90,000 to host the event. With a net loss of over $80,000 for last year, Ludacris will cost WAC $85,000 along with additional concert expenses.
“We always budget about $8-$10,000 for the lights and sound,” Wilkinson said. “This year, I think it was bout $7-$8,000, so we came in at the low end of what we had budgeted out for.
While concert prices add up quickly, this year WAC has raised the price of the concert from $5 to $7. Some members of SGA see why this could keep some students from attending the event.
“I think the $2 isn’t a huge deal,” student senator Kendra Greer said. “For students, that maybe it’s not the concert of their choice or somebody that they would have liked to see, they aren’t willing to pay for it; whereas maybe if it was free, more students would go to it regardless of the genre or artist.”
Although the price may keep some students from attending, Wilkinson feels that the optional student ticket fee is fair to students who do not wish to attend.
“At least this way, it’s kind of optional, instead of raising the SGA fee on tuition raised,” Wilkinson said.
While the student ticket fee may keep some from attending, SGA’s president believes this concert will see enough revenue to lower the cost for WAC.
“It’s not like $85,000 is gone,” Hager said. “I imagine we’ll see anywhere from $40-60,000 of that back in ticket sales. That’s just my prediction; I might be wrong. Who knows? We’ll see at the concert.”
Ticket revenue comes from both student ticket sales and tickets sold through Ticketmaster to those in the local community. According to Wilkinson, over 150 tickets have been sold to people outside of the university.
While tickets are being sold in the following months, WAC will see if Ludacris and a $7 student ticket fee can help raise revenue for this year’s Spring Concert.