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Want an A-lister like Rihanna to perform at your wedding? Here's how much it could cost you.

Rihanna poses for a picture at the pre-wedding celebrations of Anant Ambani, son of Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Industries, and Radhika Merchant, daughter of industrialist Viren Merchant, at the airport in Jamnagar, Gujarat, India, March 2, 2024.
Rihanna performed at the pre-wedding celebrations of Anant Ambani, son of Mukesh Ambani, and Radhika Merchant.Reliance Industries / Reuters
  • Rihanna performed at the pre-wedding celebration for Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant.

  • Having an A-list artist play at a private event is a strong marker of wealth.

  • Here's how much it can cost — and why musicians are willing to show up.

Rihanna — the global music superstar turned billionaire beauty mogul — took to the stage this past weekend, performing her first full concert in eight years for the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Ivanka Trump. The reason: To celebrate the upcoming nuptials of Anant Ambani, the son of India's richest person, Mukesh Ambani, and his fiancée, Radhika Merchant.

The performance, on night one of a three-day affair in Gujarat, India, did not come cheap. It's speculated she got paid between $5 million and $9 million for the 19-song set, though that hasn't been confirmed, and Rihanna's spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

A-listers typically nab fees in the low to mid seven figures for "privates," as they are known, experts in the entertainment and luxury experience space told Business Insider. That varies based on location, length of performance, and demand, and artists can charge more for add-ons like meet-and-greets and photo ops. Plus, hosts have to pay for travel — typically, a private jet is required — production costs, and lodging.

Having A-list performers at an event, whether a wedding, bar mitzvah, or corporate retreat, is nothing new and can be an ultimate flex.

"If you can afford it, why wouldn't you fly in your favorite artist to perform your favorite songs rather than simply listening to covers?" Stuart McNeill, the founder of luxury concierge company Knightsbridge Circle, told Business Insider.

One of McNeill's clients flew R&B singer Craig David to the German spa town Baden-Baden last year to perform his wife's favorite song for a group of eight, he said. The company has also hired Elton John for a Christmas party, Nile Rodgers for a 50th birthday, and Lady Gaga for a Vegas gig.

Flo Rida has performed at a Chicago bar mitzvah and a New York private equity party in exchange for reported six-figure sums. Sting and Andrea Bocelli have made appearances at Davos and Kardashian weddings, respectively.

Mukesh Ambani is no stranger to shelling out for singers. He had Beyoncé perform at a celebration for his daughter's 2018 wedding, and the next year had The Chainsmokers and Chris Martin at his elder son's wedding festivities. While it's not public how much Ambani paid for those "privates," Beyoncé earned a reported $24 million last year for a controversial one-hour performance at a hotel opening in Dubai.

Regardless of whether the guests are 13-year-olds, corporate elites, or politicians, a star performance leaves a lasting impression on guests.

"Generally speaking, you will never beat the thrill of having a major artist perform at your wedding. For those who can swing it, it's one of the coolest experiences you can give to your guests," Alison Laesser-Keck, cofounder of luxury event planning firm Alison Bryan Destinations, told BI.

For the stars, "privates" have one big draw: the cash.

While some refuse to play private gigs for any fee and others only do it for people they know, other performers "aren't picky at all — they just want the paycheck," Laesser-Keck said.

Artists can earn more playing one hour at a private party than they would from a night of a tour — the latter of which takes a lot more rehearsing and involves months of promo and travel.

"In many cases, these bookings are easier than a public concert. No pressure to sell tickets, no interviews, etc," one entertainment insider told BI.

"Privates" have also grown in popularity in the era of Spotify and Apple Music.

Since the advent of streaming, artists have made significantly less money from music sales, which used to make up the bulk of their income. Now, to earn big, musicians have to perform live — whether through touring or private gigs. That means stars may be more amenable to playing at a wedding or corporate party than previously.

And at a certain price point, it's even hard for someone like Rihanna, who is worth $1.4 billion, per Forbes, to say no. Meanwhile, for some of the world's most wealthy, the bragging rights are nearly priceless.

"If you were a guest at a friend's 50th and Usher was performing, you'd be pretty impressed, right?!" McNeill said.

Read the original article on Business Insider