Mariah Carey is the latest star after Gwen Stefani, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and J Lo to snag a steady gig on the Strip.
It’s gonna be Christmas in July for Mariah Carey.
The best-selling female artist of all time with more than 200 million records sold will return to Las Vegas this summer with a brand-new three-month residency.
Tickets for “The Butterfly Returns” at The Colosseum in Caesars Palace go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. PST, with general ticket prices beginning at $55 before taxes and fees for 12 shows running July 5 to Sept. 10, 2018. Her fan club can take advantage of an exclusive presale on Tuesday. And meet-and-greets with the “Butterfly” artist will also be available, although those prices haven’t been listed yet.
The “All I Want for Christmas Is You” singer previously headlined a “Mariah #1 to Infinity” residency of about 50 shows at The Colosseum from 2015 to 2017, with a contract that was reported to be higher than the $30 million Britney Spears supposedly got for her own Vegas gig.
“I’m thrilled to be returning to The Colosseum at Caesars Palace with a BRAND NEW residency, THE BUTTERFLY RETURNS, beginning July 5th,” Carey wrote in an Instagram post on Monday. And this comes two weeks after she revealed that she has been quietly suffering from bipolar disorder for years.
She’s not the only one hitting the Strip this summer. Gwen Stefani announced earlier this month that she will begin a solo Las Vegas residency at the Zappos Theater in Planet Hollywood this June.
“To be able to do a show in Vegas is such an incredible honor,” the former No Doubt frontwoman and “The Voice” judge, 48, said in a statement. “Growing up in Anaheim, California, I could never have imagined one day having my own Vegas residency. I have been so fortunate to tour throughout my career, but to create a show for Vegas is something I’ve never experienced and I can’t wait.”
It’s happening!! My very first Las Vegas residency “Just A Girl” is opening June 27th at Zappos Theater inside Planet Hollywood! 🙌 Tix for all 25 dates go on sale this Fri at 10am PT. ♣❤️♠♦️ gx https://t.co/WlkIg8Hq66 pic.twitter.com/x8veFQ1m12
— Gwen Stefani (@gwenstefani) April 10, 2018
Fellow 90s rockers Blink-182 recently announced 16 shows at the newly-renovated Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms from May through November. And Lady Gaga has landed her own two-year Las Vegas residency at the new Park MGM resort in late 2018 — and Variety reported that the “Million Reasons” singer is guaranteed just over $1 million per performance. Considering that she is committed to 74 appearances, this could bank her almost $100 million when merch sales and other bonuses are applied. And while we don’t know Mariah or Gwen’s pay per show yet, these numbers suggest that they could become very “Rich Girls” indeed.
Sin City residencies have been big business since Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley held court in the 60s and 70s, and they’re getting an encore as pop stars like Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez have hit the Strip.
Spears’ four-year “Piece of Me” residency at the AXIS Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, which closed on New Year’s Eve after 249 performances, has earned the “Gimme More” singer almost $140 million, according to Billboard, and filled nearly 1 million seats.
Lopez, who also played the AXIS, raked in $1 million during the 2016 leg of her residency, and her final stint will run June 13 through Sept. 29, 2018. And the expanding nightlife and EDM scene is giving DJs such as Calvin Harris and David Guetta $400,000-a-night gigs.
But in the 80s and 90s, playing Vegas was see as a swan song for the sellouts and the washed outs. “There used to be a certain element of cheesiness to playing in Vegas,” music journalist and former New York Daily News columnist Jim Farber told Moneyish. “I talked to Cher about that, and she referred to it as an ‘elephant graveyard where talent goes to die’ — and she was speaking of herself.”
So what put Vegas on a winning streak to becoming a million-dollar draw for pop stars like Gwen Stefani and Lady Gaga, who both boast 30 million albums sold worldwide?
Thank Celine Dion for ensuring that Vegas residencies will go on.
“It really goes back to over a decade, when Celine Dion launched her residency at Caesars Palace – and that was really the beginning of top notch artists starting residencies in the height of their careers,” Jason Gastwirth, senior vice president of marketing and entertainment for Caesar’s Entertainment Corporation, told Moneyish.
The “My Heart Will Go On” singer’s four-year “A New Day …” residency grossed $382.5 million. “We’ve seen major success with these, so the idea that this is something that would be a detractor to their careers is past,” said Gastwirth. “This is just another aspect of touring now.”
Las Vegas is also skewing younger, with Millennials making up one-third of all visitors in 2016, up from being only one-fourth of them in 2015, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. And that’s lowered the age of the average visitor to 44. It was 51 as recently as 2013.
And these newcomers are showing more interest in catching live acts, trying new restaurants and exploring the city than they are frequenting the casinos, which is also fueling the residency boom. Twenty-four percent of overall visitors saw a headliner in 2016, up significantly from 14% in 2012 and 13% in 2013.
Plus, as it’s gotten harder to earn a living in the music industry as audiences stream music instead of buying albums, Farber says performers (and their fans) are less picky about where they get paid.
“We don’t criticize artists for doing TV commercials anymore. Those kind of ‘sellout’ accusations are antiquated in a world where we have all accepted that it is difficult to make money in music — or, we have just accepted the greed,” said Farber. “So residencies have become very popular with certain performers because, first of all, they can pay them tens of millions of dollars.”
Finally, there’s more than money at stake here. There’s also sanity. Touring takes a lot out of entertainers. So being able to plant themselves in one place – such as Mariah, Gwen, Gaga and Britney in Vegas, or Billy Joel’s extended NYC residencies at Madison Square Garden – lets them get some rest and spend time with their families between shows.
“It cuts down on the wear and tear,” said Farber.
This story was originally published on Dec. 22, 2017 and has been updated with Mariah Carey.
© 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved