Friday, July 9, 2010

Ticket prices add up to fewer shows

I wrote an article for the front page of Thursday’s Observer about the summer concert season and the key factors that have caused a handful of big shows to be canceled here.

Here’s some more information on that topic that I think you’ll agree tells a big part of the story:

Average price of a ticket to see one of the top 100 tours in 1996, according to Pollstar data: $25.81.

Average price of a ticket to see one of the top 100 tours in 2009, according to Pollstar: $62.57.

That’s nearly a 150 percent increase. You can chalk it up to inflation; but not all of it. I mean, I bought my first new car in 1996 for $16,000, and my third new car in 2009 for $28,000. (My current car is nicer than that first one.)

The more telling piece of this story, though, is how – duh – there’s a direct correlation between demand and price:

Price for a cheap seat to see red-hot Justin Bieber on Aug. 8 at Time Warner Cable Arena: $31.50. Ticket sales have been extremely strong.

Price for tickets to see uber-popular Adam Lambert perform last week at the Fillmore Charlotte: about $40. His concert sold out almost immediately after tickets went on sale in May.

Price for good seats to see Santana – which hasn’t had new material in five years – at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre: $81.50. The show was canceled.

Price for a premium seat/VIP package to see Lilith Fair at Verizon: $756. The show was canceled.

The lesson couldn’t be more obvious, but I’ll let Neighborhood Theatre owner Zach McNabb put it in a nutshell: “It’s a simple formula that’s gotten lost amongst the larger bands and promoters: Cheap tickets plus desired artists equals higher attendance, and higher profits.”

What else is there to say?


Anonymous said...

Good analysis. I think ticket prices are particularly a concern given the state of the economy. Even those of us lucky enough to still be working are watching our spending a bit more carefully.

People may pay high prices for an in-demand act. But if you are on the borderline, ticket price is a big factor.

Last summer, I went to see No Doubt and lawn tickets were just $15. And they drew something like 18,000 people.

Anonymous said...

The even more annoying part is that Ticketmaster has a $6.50 + surcharge for parking on EVERY ticket. If you buy 4 tickets and all ride together, you've just paid at least $26 to park your car for a few hours.

Anonymous said...

I will pay over $100 only to see a big name act like AC/DC that will never be touring again. But I won't pay $25 to $50 just to go sit on the lawn for a so-so band. I still can't believe that it's legal for places like Verizon to charge for parking on every single ticket. Maybe one day someone will file a class-action lawsuit and stop this thievery.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, Live Nation waived its ticket fees for all tickets purchased in the month of June, regardless of when the actual concert was. They have also offered $10 tickets and 4 packs of lawn tickets for $40.

$20 for 2 tickets to see Kiss is not bad. However, when you factor in that it's an outdoor concert in August, water is $5 a bottle, beers are $8, and parking is extra, it quickly becomes expensive. Concert promoters need to to do what a lot of professional (especially minor league) sports teams have done. They need to offer package deals, like the Knights, Checkers, and Bobcats have all done. It is not necessarily the price of the ticket, but the price of everything else that is the reason I don't go to concerts.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I am glad it's happening. The promoters and venues, particular Live Nation and Ticketmaster, have priced themselves out of their own events. Hopefully they will bring the prices down.