GQ has a fascinating look at the little-known world of the "club-appearance economy," which it calls "a bizarre ecosystem that has reinvented the way a famous person ... makes a living." Simply put, clubs in Las Vegas, Miami, and around the world will pay people of varying levels of fame—Lil Jon, Puffy's son, Lenny Kravitz, Bravo's housewives, Tyson Beckford—exorbitant amounts of money to hang out for an hour. Sources say Future was recently paid $250,000 to appear at a club on New Year's Eve. Ray J got multiple $250,000 paydays when he threw himself four birthday parties at four different clubs in January. Even a lesser Kardashian like Scott Disick could bring in $80,000 just to walk into a club, sit at a VIP table, and have a drink for an hour.
The blame for the advent of the club-appearance economy is laid at the feet of Paris Hilton—"who made it possible to be famous for doing nothing"—as one would expect it must be. Since then, the beneficiaries of the economy have shifted from actual celebrities, to reality stars, to DJs, to rappers, and finally to whatever you call someone with millions of Instagram followers. And while club appearances are an integral source of income for the Disicks of the world, they're even more important to the clubs, which can charge more than $25,000 per table just to be seated near a bought-and-paid-for celebrity. A Vegas club recently sued Nicki Minaj, who it claims came up 26 minutes short of her contract-mandated hour of club time. More than Minaj's $263,000 fee, the club was mostly concerned about the five-figure (per table) bottle service money it lost from those who would have sat adjacent to Minaj. Read the full story here. (Read more nightclub stories.)