Rock It For $20 (Plus Beer)

Country rocker Kid Rock has taken a calculated risk: Tickets to his summer concerts have been capped at $20 each.

Fans rarely get to see a big-name act like this for so little, but, according to The Wall Street Journal, Kid Rock (the stage name of Robert Ritchie) cut a novel deal with promoter Live Nation Entertainment. “Instead of taking a big upfront fee from the promoter, the ‘guarantee’ an act receives even if attendance is poor, he shouldered more risk by sharing ticket sales with Live Nation,” the Journal reported. “In exchange, the promoter agreed to share revenue from food, drinks and parking—house earnings in which entertainers rarely get a stake.”

Kid Rock. Image by Sean Mateo White
Kid Rock. Image by Sean Mateo White

So far, the approach seems to be paying off. Venues are sold out, and extra shows are even in the works. As Kid Rock told the Journal, “I’ve heard the same story for 15, 20 years: ‘I dragged my husband or my wife to the show, now they’re a huge fan after they saw you play.’ Without a hit record out right now, the best thing I can do is get people in the building and make some fans for the long haul.”

Peter Drucker, while partial to classical music, would have applauded the move. “Thinking more clearly about costing in services should yield new insights into the costs of getting and keeping customers in businesses of all kinds,” Drucker wrote in Managing in a Time of Great Change.

Banks, Drucker pointed out, have long played with some of the same variables Kid Rock is now testing. “It is the yield per customer—both the volume of services a customer uses and the mix of those services—that determines costs and profitability,” Drucker noted.

In his Journal interview, Kid Rock remarked that even after selling 14 million records, “you’re always proving yourself, and rightfully so. When you get comfortable, you get lazy.”

Drucker would have loved this attitude, as well. “Success, always obsoletes the very behavior that achieved it,” he wrote. “It always creates, above all, its own and different problems.” But change can be hard: “It is never popular to argue with success, never popular to rock the boat.”

Unless, apparently, you really know how to rock.

What do you think of Kid Rock’s innovative pricing plan?