Last September's much publicized "MUSE Concerts for a Non-Nuclear Future," which had been expected to raise $750,000 to $1 million for the anti-nuclear movement, raised less than a third of that, according to preliminary figures supplied by Pamela Lippe, co-director of the MUSE Foundation.
The concerts at Madison Square Garden featured five nights of performances by rock superstars such as Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt. All together, they grossed $1,491,000. But only $233,500 was left for the cause.
"the numbers will be a little cloudy for a while," said Lippe and Sam Lovejoy, who served as president of MUSE Inc., a six-month entity set up to produce the concert.
The chief factor in the shortfall, Lovejoy said, was the disappointing ticket sales. Of the lower-priced seats, 88 percent were sold, and the $500 tickets intended for "big rollers" did much worse -- selling only 15 percent.
Other costly problems were unexpected union overtime, the addition of more female and minority rock performers to balance the shows, the addition of more staff to handle them, the failure of MUSE-related merchandise to sell well, various disputes over payments for such thing as promotional photographs, and unexpected costs of the rally that capped the concerts.
Part of the overhead for the concerts went to the production of a film and a live album that are still expected to bring in significant revenue to MUSE. Electra-Asylum records will announce today the release of the three-record album which includes 20 artists.
"We've gotten one of the best deals ever in the record business," said Lippe. "After certain deductions, 22 percent of each album goes directly to the foundation."
The money raised so far has already been allocated by the MUSE Foundation through "about 220 grants." Lippe estimates the average grant at approximately $1,000, and the largest at approximately $4,000.
Although $90,000 of MUSE Inc.'s funds also went to the MUSE Foundation's coffers when MUSE Inc. closed down in October, Lippe acknowledges that the yield so far amounts to just "a drop in the bucket" compared to the institutional spending of pro-nuclear forces.
"You don't do anything this big without making some mistakes," said Lippe."We're willing to accept ours."