Is Britney Spears’ Femme Fatale tour already in trouble?

06.16.11 8 years ago 13 Comments

Britney Spears” “Femme Fatale” tour opens in Sacramento, Calif. tonight at the Power Balance Pavilion, but is it in trouble before the first synthesized, autotuned note is played?

Unlike her past tours that have sold out quickly,  tickets for Spears” current tour have not moved as fast. Therefore tour promoter Live Nation Entertainment is offering tickets for half price in most markets in a promotion through Groupon.

We did a quick search and found Groupon offerings in a number of cities, including June 16″s show in Sacramento, where 1,400 offered tickets went for $30, a 49% discount, according to local paper, Sacramento Bee.

Similar deals have been available in many other tour stops, including Detroit, San Jose, and St. Paul”s Xcel Center.  In some of the deals, even front sections of the venue are deeply discounted. For example, the Xcel Center Groupon promoted floor seats and sections in the 100s very close to the stage for $83. The tickets were originally priced at $165 including fees.

I then went to Ticketmaster to try to buy tickets for tonight’s show and was able to purchase two seats for the fourth row of the front section of the floor, closest to the stage, for a whopping $749.20 for the pair. Those aren’t scalpers prices, people. That’s the face value plus service charge.  For Spears” stop at Los Angeles” Staples Center on Monday, June 20, I was able to get two choice seats: row 5 of a section one section away from the stage on Ticketmaster. The pair were $386.80. I think we’re starting to see the problem here.

What”s going on here? First off, even though “Femme Fatale” received largely strong reviews and debuted at No. 1, the album hasn”t had a smash hit that”s resonated with fans.  “Till the World Ends” is at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, but that”s largely due to remixes featuring Nicki Minaj and K$ha that gave it a new life.

Plus, the album hasn”t ignited. It has sold a little more than 550,000 since its release 11 weeks, which is certainly respectable, but in comparison with other current superstar releases, is slow. For example, Adele”s “21” just surpassed the 2 million mark in 16 weeks. Lady Gaga”s “Born This Way,” although falling precipitously, has already sold around 1.4 million copies in three weeks.  Tourmate Nicki Minaj”s “Pink Friday” has sold close to 1.5 million in its 29 weeks of release.

The biggest reason is likely that Spears has been her own worst enemy, as the very few live television performances to promote “Femme Fatale” were awkward and leaden and consisted of her walking more than dancing. Plus, her last tour, 2009″s “Circus,” was heavily criticized for her lipsynching. Maybe going the $350 VIP ticket route for close seats wasn’t the way to go here (although we think they were even higher, $500, for “Circus”).

We”re all for lower concert prices, so her fans are the big winners here with all the discounts, but we”re also all for artists really putting on a show and if they”re not up to the rigors of the road, waiting until they are. Hopefully, Spears will prove the doubters wrong. Regardless we”ll be back tomorrow with a round-up of reviews from tonight”s show.

We’re requested a comment from Live Nation about slow sales and will amend the story if we hear back.

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