Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Stars Come Out for New Year's Bounty

New Year's Eve means only one thing for pop stars -- big money.

The holiday is the biggest night of the year for pop stars, with their fees for brief performances at night clubs, restaurants, concert halls and private parties tripling or even quadrupling from the amount they usually earn at two-hour concerts, music industry sources said. As a result, some singers attend up to two dozen New Year's parties in one night.

"It pretty much covers a half-year of income for many of them," one producer said on condition of anonymity.

Musicians and producers interviewed for the story were reluctant to talk on the record because of the large amount of money involved.

City streets this year are once again glossed over with billboards and posters inviting the public to greet the New Year with a host of pop celebrities. Ticket prices range from $100 to $1,000.

Demand is sky-high, and singers who lip-sync are favored because they are less hassle, industry insiders said. "They show up, stick a mini-disk into the system, get on the stage, sing a song and off they go," said Alexander Ponomaryov, producer for rock groups B2 and Spleen.

He said, however, that New Year's would not provide a windfall for B2 and Spleen -- both groups perform live and therefore have to spend hours preparing for concerts.

"We receive at least twice as many requests for our performers around New Year's," said a representative of the Snegiri recording company, which represents Naik Borzov and other pop singers.

She said Borzov has received at least six offers and has accepted two of them. She noted that Borzov would not lip-sync.

Performers such as girl band Strelki, which is well-known for lip-syncing, go to the extreme to cash in on the holiday. Strelki once managed to make its presence felt on 23 stages, although to achieve the goal the performers had to split into two groups. Boy band Premier Ministr showed up at 10 concerts last year, Izvestia reported.

"This does not sound improbable at all," the Snegiri representative said.

The hunt for cash can occasionally become demanding for stars who are accustomed to being ferried around town in stretch limousines or, at the very least, Mercedes sedans. Singers booked for multiple appearances throughout the night have been known to use the metro to avoid traffic jams and street closures in the city center, said an official at another recording company. The metro is open until 2:30 a.m. on New Year's.

"They take their agents' clothes, cover their faces with hats and dark glasses and slip into the metro," the official said.

Ringing in the New Year in the company of stars appears to be more popular the ever this year. While scheduling an appearance by a star at a private party costs several thousand dollars, tickets to see a whole troupe of singers -- including Nikolai Baskov, Larisa Dolina, Valery Leontyev and Oleg Gazmanov -- at the Rossiya Concert Hall are going for $900 a piece. The Metelitsa night club on Novy Arbat is promising Premier Ministr, Strelki and at least 21 other performers for an entrance fee of 17,500 rubles ($550).

Dmitry Malikov is scheduled to perform in at least three venues -- the Rossiya Concert Hall, the Akademichesky Concert Hall and the Corona night club. The chances of bumping into Malikov in metro stations close to the venues were unclear Tuesday.

Stars are not only in high demand in Moscow, they eagerly accept offers to perform in the regions rich in oil and gas.

"Everything [in those regions] is more cool, and there is more money," one producer said.

The organization of New Year's concerts starts as early as September. And since formal agreements are usually never signed, appearances can be cancelled at any moment -- especially when a star is offered more money by somebody else. As a result, almost no performer is left without an offer.

"The demand is so high that even long-forgotten artists get a chance to work," an industry source said, laughing.