While top nightlife players have been known to never reveal their numbers, there is a general consensus Calvin Harris and the masked DJ are now Vegas’ highest paid DJs.
When the news dropped Monday that superstar masked DJ Marshmello would be a resident at the new Kaos Dayclub & Nightclub set to open at Las Vegas’ Palms Casino Resort in April, a myriad of claims about the financials behind the deal hit the rumor mill.
Multiple sources reported that Palms would pay Marshmello $60 million for an unspecified number of dates over a two-year period of time. Others claimed that it was the “largest EDM deal in the history of the city.”
However, Las Vegas’ major nightlife players have been known to never reveal their numbers, and to date no one from Palms will confirm those specifics.
“I don’t know where that number is coming from. We don’t disclose our deals. I don’t know what the talent deals look like at other properties, and I know they don’t officially disclose,” says Palms Casino Resort GM Jon Gray. “Outside of the total reinvestment dollar figure disclosed publicly on earnings calls — $690 million — Palms/Station Casinos does not disclose the specifics of individual project costs, partner deals or residency contracts.”
What Gray can confirm is that Marshmello will play more dates in the calendar year than he did at his previous home, Wynn Las Vegas, and that schedules will be released about 60 to 90 days out.
So just how does Marshmello’s Palms gig stack up in the Las Vegas pantheon of DJ paychecks?
A quick scan of Omnia Nightclub’s website shows that Calvin Harris, the reigning king of high-paid DJs, appears almost every Friday night. According to Forbes’ 2018 list of the highest-paid DJs, Harris was No. 1, earning $48 million overall, while Marshmello was No. 5 at $23 million. Industry blogs question whether Harris is being paid $1 million dollars or £1 million pounds per show for his work with Hakkasan Group. Presumably, the deals between the two could be in close range, taking into account inflation and Marshmello’s ever-increasing popularity in 2019.
The excitement and conversation created by this guessing game is great marketing, as it keeps public interest in tune with what’s happening in the Las Vegas club scene.
“Marshmello’s track record has been phenomenal. He’s on an amazing run. He’s the No. 4 most streamed artist right now. We feel that what he’s doing, his whole team, is very creative. They’ve done some phenomenal initiatives like the Fortnite takeover, and I know he’s got some incredible things in the pipeline,” Gray says. “He’s done some amazing collaborations that give him a lot of range that will excite guests. In addition to that, we really are creating a one-of-a-kind show experience together, leveraging all the great technology in the new room. This isn’t just a guy who comes in with the same set list and presses play — he’s creating a show with great visuals, pyrotechnics and all the technology in the space. This is not a DJ set. This is a real concert.”
Last year, the rumor mill about Marshmello coming to Palms started to churn when the DJ played the wedding of Kelly Ann Fertitta, daughter of Palms owner Frank Fertitta.
Gray, who has seen Marshmello perform many times, loves the energy he brings to every performance, whether he’s playing a small venue or a large venue, as well as the visuals that go along with his set. “He’s done some really cool things with the helmet, and it’s got LED now,” he says. “He’s really into the music. He doesn’t mail it in. He doesn’t have the same set list. He watches the room. He reads it. His sets are different every time he plays, and I truly respect that. I’ve seen examples where it’s kind of the same set, different night. That’s not the impression I’ve got or the vibe I’ve got, having gone to several Marshmello shows.”
The process for this residency started with Palms reaching out to Marshmello’s team, who were aware of the plans for Kaos and the reenvisioning of the property.
“They were really excited about what they could create with us and it starts with our ownership group. They’d be joining an incredible group of guys with Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta and a great team — Ronn Nicolli and Ryan Craig. They were excited about that. They said, ‘We were talking to the guys that make all the decisions, and that’s how we operate here. We work with the talent directly on the deal points, on the production points, the marketing.’ I think that was a refreshing approach,” Gray says.
These deals typically run as two-year relationships and there is a period of time when the artist’s contract is ending with a property that they can court new opportunities or resign.
“We knew the length of time he had at his previous engagement and there was a timeline on which they could negotiate with us and we knew that,” says Gray. “It’s becoming more like sports. We work through negotiations during that window. Again, very respectful of the market and the relationships. It’s really between the talent management and the property. Each deal’s different. When DJs have engagements with other properties, there’s a window of time that you can [talk] with them, and we certainly were respectful of that. The conversation has been several months.”
Marshmello, as a performer, gravitates more toward the dayclub, where 75 percent of his performances will occur. And Gray says the DJ has some “fun ideas” for that space, which has a capacity of 6,000.
“We know that it’s certainly trending upward right now, the dayclub market in Las Vegas. We do think we’ll be the premier dayclub in the city. With the opportunity that Moe [Shalizi, Marshmello’s manager] and Marshmello presented to us with some of their ideas, we felt that was a natural fit.”
Entrance prices work in different tiers depending on the performance. On some dates, Marshmello is playing the nightclub, which will also have dayclub area open, so guests can either go just to the nightclub, to the pool, or both. Tickets start at $25 for women and $35 for men.
“As the demand increases, the rates go up. That’s how the ticketing tiers work. It’s kind of like hotel rooms, because you’re running out of capacity.”
A scan of the currently under-construction pool area shows a massive lotus flower structuring canopy covering the outdoor stage. Marshmello will have his own intricate production elements. “The stage [he will be on is] custom to him. [It will have a] pretty iconic element of his whole look and feel that you’ll see come to life in the stage. It’s got a lot of technology embedded in it. It’ll be one-of-a-kind; you won’t see it anywhere else in the world, and you’ll only get to see it when Marshmello performs.”
How high will the ticket prices go with the potential demand of 6,000 people per performance?
“They’ll keep going. They’ll have tickets. We’ve seen the market can sustain $500 tickets at the door.”
Dates have currently only been announced through May, with the rest of summer schedule to be revealed in about a month.
This relationship goes well beyond just the walls of the club. For younger fans, Gray says they might even do some all-ages shows inside the Pearl, although nothing has been finalized. “He’s got such a great range of audience that we want to make sure we are enabling some of those experiences that he can create, because he does have such a following.”
Around the property, expect Marshmello-themed desserts starting opening weekend, as well as other fun nuances. And the burning question everyone wants to know — will there be any Marshmello helmets available for purchase in the gift shop?
“We gotta talk to the team about that. They’ve got some manufactured in the past. Obviously, people love those helmets,” Gray says. “I have a couple at my house. My kids love wearing them. They run around the house and they’re DJs all day, which is pretty funny.”
Janelle Monáe Leads The Revolution In Stirring ‘Turntables’ Video
YouTube “We are in the middle of a revolution right? What’s a revolution without a song and a song without a revolution.” That’s the question the Grammy-winning artist Janelle Monáe posed to Entertainment Weekly when describing her latest single, “Turntables.” The song was released on and flips between cleverly rapped lines about “liberation, elevation, education” and a harmonic…
“We are in the middle of a revolution right? What’s a revolution without a song and a song without a revolution.”
That’s the question the Grammy-winning artist Janelle Monáe posed to Entertainment Weekly when describing her latest single, “Turntables.” The song was released on and flips between cleverly rapped lines about “liberation, elevation, education” and a harmonic refrain with clear gospel influences. It’s Monáe’s take on a contemporary protest song, a call for a political sea change, in the vein of, say, Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” or Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.”
Courtesy of Atlantic RecordsAnd on Tuesday (September), Monáe released a moving music video — or, as she calls it, an emotion picture — that solidified that message. The visual opens and closes with the singer walking along the beach in a beige trench coat and military cap. At times, she can be seen singing into a retro microphone before an American flag; in others, she moves through staged breakfast scenes, with a family reading through newspaper headlines as they mouth her lyrics. The visual flashes through archival and contemporary footage depicting inspirational figures past and present: Where one scene shows the model and activist Jillian Mercado at a photo shoot, another depicts a conversation with lifelong activist Angela Davis.
What rings true without is a hopeful cry for change and for equality, and a recognition of those who have been leading that fight for decades. Monáe wrote “Turntables” for the new Amazon Studios documentary, All In: The Fight for Democracy, that shines a light on voter suppression, particularly through the lens of Stacey Abrams’s failed bid for the Georgia governorship. “Right now, I am focused on turning the election in our favor,” Monáe told Entertainment Weekly, “and I hope this song can inspire those who are on the ground doing the work.”
Joe Keery’s Reinvention, Mxmtoon’s Carly Rae Jepsen Collab, And More Songs We Love
Getty Images/April Blum The search for the ever-elusive “bop” is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new? Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn’t discriminate by…
Getty Images/April Blum
The search for the ever-elusive “bop” is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new?
Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn’t discriminate by genre and can include anything — it’s a snapshot of what’s on our minds and what sounds good. We’ll keep it fresh with the latest music, but expect a few oldies (but goodies) every once in a while, too. Get ready: The Bop Shop is now open for business.
St. Vincent ft. Yoshiki: “New York”
St. Vincent, the intuitive musical goddess that she is, must have sensed our collective need for another quarantine ballad. Enter “New York [Feat. Yoshiki],” a classical arrangement of the standout single from 2017’s Masseduction. An added string section courtesy of Yoshiki, a Japanese multi-instrumentalist, beautifully complements the song’s original piano instrumentals. What more can I say? “New York isn’t New York / Without you, love” just hits different in the middle of a pandemic. —Sam Manzella
Djo: “Keep Your Head Up”
Last year, Joe Keery (of Stranger Things fame) released a glossy solo album under the moniker Djo. It was titled Twenty Twenty, and its sparkling arrangements ended up being quite far removed from the overall vibe of 2020 the year, but who could fault him for his optimism? Keery has also long been a contributing member of Chicago psych band Post Animal, but Djo is simply Joe — and latest “Keep Your Head Up” feels like several Joes ripping open a vortex in the funk-time continuum. This is a groove, peppered with buzzy synths and icy falsetto and an honest-to-god sax part. It’s akin to Todd Terje doing Tame Impala, a lightheaded cocktail rush that feels both clubby and bedroom ambitious. Positively galactic. —Patrick Hosken
Mxmtoon ft. Carly Rae Jepsen: “OK On Your Own”
When Mxmtoon’s Maia said she recorded “OK On Your Own” for the girls and the gays, she wasn’t kidding. The mellow bedroom-pop bop soundtracks a journey of self-reflection after a breakup, complete with the soft ukulele instrumentals that put the 19-year-old singer-songwriter on the map. Is it revelatory? No, but with pop icon Carly Rae Jepsen lending her sugary-sweet vocals to the second verse, it doesn’t have to be. Now I’m just waiting for “Party for Two.” —Sam Manzella
Video Age: “Aerostar”
Pleasure Line, the third album from emerging indie pop quartet Video Age, delivers perfectly escapist ’80s new wave vibes for when you need to get outta 2020 for just a moment. “Aerostar” is its punchy center, a hip-twisting, shoulder-shuffling groove that delivers quirky robot dance commands (“Slide to the left, now! Shimmy to the right!”) over hoppin’ funk synths and a kickin’ drum machine. It all harkens to a simpler time, one where dance floors were actually a real thing. Oh, the ’80s! —Terron Moore
Ruel: “As Long As You Care”
About a year ago, Australian middle-part heartthrob Ruel told MTV News that for him, “songwriting is exaggerating to an extent.” On his latest, the technicolor, soulful “As Long As You Care,” his exaggeration is so seamless, you’d be forgiven for believing the 17-year-old is actually a time traveler. The neo-soul groove he rides propels everything upward, even as the sound cheekily looks backward. “As Long As You Care” has one amazing hook, coupled with sonic candy that makes his upcoming third EP, Bright Lights, Red Eyes (out October 23) one to watch. —Patrick Hosken
Alycia Bella ft. Boogie: “Cue the Sun”
Something magical happens two-and-a-half minutes into “Cue the Sun,” the exploratory new collab between striking R&B voice Alycia Bella and rapper Boogie. After piping in the aural equivalent of stage smoke via jazzy piano and gorgeous vocalizations — “It feel like being lost in the right direction” — Bella’s song enters a more sparkly realm for Boogie’s recitations. By the end, you’re lighter, like your mind’s been cleared of all the cobwebs. Cue the sun. —Patrick Hosken
Carly Rae Jepsen
Who Are You Most Excited to See Perform at the 2020 ACM Awards? Vote!
The 55th Academy of Country Music Awards will welcome back Taylor Swift and present a new collaboration from the evening’s host Keith Urban and P!nk on Wednesday, Sept. 16. But which one of the highly anticipated performances are you counting down the hours to? Nine-time ACM Award winner Swift, whose latest studio album Folklore has topped the Billboard 200 for six…
The 55th Academy of Country Music Awards will welcome back Taylor Swift and present a new collaboration from the evening’s host Keith Urban and P!nk on Wednesday, Sept. 16. But which one of the highly anticipated performances are you counting down the hours to?
Nine-time ACM Award winner Swift, whose latest studio album Folklore has topped the Billboard 200 for six weeks, will come back for the first time in seven years to perform the country-leaning fan-favorite track “Betty.” Meanwhile, 15-time ACM Award winner Urban and Pink will come together for the world television premiere of their brand new collaboration “One Too Many,” which is from the country star’s forthcoming album, The Speed of Now, Part 1.
Billboard broke the news Monday (Sept. 14) that all five nominees for entertainer of the year — Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Luke Combs and Thomas Rhett — will take the stage to perform a medley of their greatest hits. Additionally, ACM’s freshly crowned new male and female artist of the year winners Riley Green and Tenille Townes, respectively, will also perform.
For the first time in the awards show’s history, the ACMs will be broadcast live from Nashville, with socially distanced performances from the Grand Ole Opry House, the historic Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe.
The 55th ACM Awards will air live Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 8 p.m. ET (delayed for the West Coast) on CBS and CBS All Access. (The event is produced by dick clark productions, which shares a parent company with Billboard.)
So which of the performances can’t you wait to see? Vote below!