Thursday 14 December 2017

Prince walked away from $3m pay day 'on a whim'

Price will not be appearing to give evidence.
Price will not be appearing to give evidence.

Tim Healy

TOP music promoter Denis Desmond yesterday claimed the cancellation of Prince's Croke Park concert in 2008 appeared to have been done "on a whim" of the artist.

Mr Desmond's MCD Productions has brought a Commercial Court action seeking €1.7m damages over the cancellation of the gig which was due to take place on June 16 2008, and would have earned Prince a guaranteed $3m (€2.2m).

The court heard yesterday that the pop star will not be appearing to give evidence.

Mr Desmond told the court he had never been given a reason why the concert was cancelled, but it appeared to have been "on a whim" of Prince.

He said there was damaging media speculation at the time that MCD had cancelled the concert due to poor ticket sales. This was not the case because more than 55,000 had been sold.

Prince had also been told he could have earned potentially $500,000 (€369,853) extra for the show on the basis of ticket sales, Mr Desmond said.

The concert would not have been announced nor would tickets have gone on sale had he not got confirmation from the agents in February 2008, he said.

The MCD boss said "rumblings" about the concert being cancelled came very late and only arose because his staff could not get any information from Prince's production staff.

He said there was no indication that the show would be cancelled, but he said they knew something was up when, three weeks before the show, the required production information was not forthcoming. As the date drew closer and concerns arose, MCD also offered to provide lighting and production services and the artist was told he would simply have "to arrive with his band".

He said promoters could take out cancellation insurance and dates could be rescheduled in the event of a performer being genuinely ill.

The proceedings by MCD are against Prince Rogers Nelson and agents William Morris Endeavour Entertainment LLC, of Beverly Hills, California, which was joined by MCD to the case after the superstar alleged the agents had no authority to bind him to perform in Croke Park. William Morris has rejected those claims.


William Morris, which is one of the worlds' largest entertainment management companies, has said its servants or agents engaged in negotiations with MCD about the Dublin concert and acted at all times as agents for the artist under an agreement of August 2005.

On February 26, 2008, William Morris claims it entered into a contract with MCD for Prince to perform at Croke Park on June 16 2008 for "an artist's guaranteed fee of $3m".

MCD transferred $1.5m (€1.1m), half of the agreed fee, to an account of William Morris, it is claimed.

William Morris also admits, that on about June 6, 2008, MCD was notified by it that Prince wished to cancel the concert. The agents claim Prince refused to travel to Dublin and gave "no reason of substance" to it for the cancellation.

William Morris says the decision to cancel was outside its control and it returned $1.5m to MCD. They deny negligence, breach of duty or misrepresentation.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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