Coachella organizers allegedly tried to take advantage of The Weeknd after he stepped in to replace Kanye West as the festival’s Sunday headliner later this month. According to reports, the singer threatened to leave if he wasn’t paid the same as West, who was set to earn $8 million plus a $500,000 production fee.
The Weeknd was revealed to be the front-runner to replace the “All of the Lights” rapper, who backed out of the gig less than two weeks before showtime.
Coachella organizers declared early Wednesday that The Weeknd, 32, and house music supergroup Swedish House Mafia will fill the rapper’s slots on April 17 and April 24. However, a music source told us that the deal for the “Blinding Lights” singer was not yet finalized.
The source said, “The Weeknd came in at short notice to take Kanye’s top spot. But Phil Anschutz [who owns the Coachella Festival through AEG Live] wanted to hold on to Kanye’s money and pay The Weeknd far less, just a few million. The festival would pocket the rest.”
The ruse sparked tense talks this week between The Weeknd’s management and Anschutz’s Goldenvoice, which produces the festival.
The source continued, “Even after Coachella announced the new lineup on Wednesday, a deal wasn’t in place for The Weeknd, who threatened to pull out at an hour’s notice if he didn’t get the same deal as Kanye.
“Finally, on Wednesday faced with the prospect of a second headline act pulling out of Coachella at the last minute Anschutz’s company caved and agreed to pay The Weeknd the same money.”
According to a second source, the billionaire AEG mogul did not personally handle the negotiations, which were handled by an employee.
The Weeknd’s representative did not respond to multiple requests for comment, and West’s representative did not respond.
Kanye bailed on the gig less than two weeks before showtime because he “wants to get help” after publicly dragging former wife Kim Kardashian and her boyfriend Pete Davidson on social media, which resulted in a 24-hour Instagram suspension and the cancellation of his Grammys performance.
“Kanye has definitely pulled out of Coachella,” “He hasn’t been rehearsing or putting on a production.”
Our source confirmed that Travis Scott, who shares two children with Kylie Jenner, “was supposed to be joining [West] on stage.”
“Now it would be virtually impossible for him to get it together. Look for The Weeknd to replace him,” our source shared, adding, “Kanye is backing out because he wants to stay out of the public eye after all the drama with Kim and Pete; he wants to get help.”
Sources told us West, who shares four children with the Skims mogul, promised not to make “any public appearances or inflammatory social media statements” while he is “away” getting “better.” Kardashian and West were declared legally single in March amid their ongoing divorce.