When a music artist cancels a tour for medical reasons, as Lady Gaga had to do in 2013 after suffering a labral tear on her hip, the tour is usually insured and the artist would not be responsible for the losses incurred for the cancellation. It makes sense in cases such as hers — Gaga’s shows feature heavy dancing, the experience wouldn’t be nearly as good if she sang while lying in traction, right? (Actually, note to Gaga, you can use that idea, I don’t think it has been done yet.) Touring insurance protects everyone, including the artist, from suffering huge financial losses when the reason for the cancellation is beyond the artist’s control.
But what about when an artist cancels a tour just… because? Justin Bieber recently announced that he would be canceling the remaining 14 dates of his Purpose tour, with one source saying the Biebs was just “over it.” In that case, an artist may face penalties due to the massive financial losses incurred from ticket refunds, plus all costs for promotion, marketing and advertising.
Kanye West is currently in the middle of a lawsuit that, to some, might seem to straddle these situations. Back in November, 2016, West canceled the final 21 dates of his Saint Pablo tour in 2016 and the cost of ticket refunds alone were upwards of $24 million. Two days after he canceled the tour, he checked himself into a psychiatric facility after suffering a breakdown which his own doctor called “a debilitating medical condition” that prohibited him from performing, yet West’s insurer, Lloyd’s of London, has not paid any claims out to West’s company, Very Good Touring, Inc. West is suing Lloyd’s for breach of contract and breach of good faith and fair dealing for upwards of $10 million.
West’s suit accuses Lloyd’s of London of not providing “anything approaching a coherent explanation about why they have not paid, or any indication if they will ever pay or even make a coverage decision, implying that Kanye’s use of marijuana may provide them with a basis to deny the claim and retain the hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurance premiums.” West also claims in his suit that Lloyd’s sought an independent physician to examine West to verify the claims of his mental health, and despite the fact that their doctor agreed with West’s primary physician, they continued to deny the claims. The suit essentially alleges that Lloyd’s continues to find provisions that will allow them to stall or deny payment.
As we all know, West is known for his controversial behavior onstage (and, sometimes, off) and in fact, just days before he cancelled his tour, he had been making erratic statements to the press and performing abbreviated shows, all of which ultimately led him to seek help. Who determines the cause of his behavior and whether or not he should have continued performing his tour are two issues this case is sure to address. For an update on the case, click here. One thing for sure is that we are glad Ye is better.