The rise and rise of ticket prices

June 30, 2008


Contrary to what certain musicians, tour operators or record label execs will have you believe, the cost of concert tickets is most definitely rising, and rising at a rate that far outstrips the natural economic increases that control our economy. Paying above the market value for anything is never a nice experience; it can leave you cold, guilty and ashamed. The bands never apologise do they? You don’t hear Madonna saying sorry for the £300+ it costs to get a seat in the toilet to watch her latest tour or The Rolling Stones following suit. Gone are the days of catching a band that you haven’t even heard of for under a tenner at your local pub; they are playing at the Academy in *insert town name here* and it will cost you £20, oh and by the way, if you want a beer then that will be an extra £5.

Alan Krueger is a very intelligent man. He is Bendheim Professor of Economics and Public Policy, director of the Princeton Survey Research Center and professor of economics and public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School at the really rather prestigious Princeton University in little ol’ USA, and what he doesn’t know about market and price structuring really isnt necessary to know. In a bid to find out if the current rises in the price of a concert ticket are legitimate and in line with inflation, a plan was hatched. A plan that only an extremely insightful, determined and intelligent academic could hatch. (

Using box office information maintained by Pollstar, an organization that provides concert tour schedules, box office results and other music industry-related data, Krueger discovered “that in the last five years concert ticket prices have grown by 61 percent, while the Consumer Price Index (the measure of the price of all consumer goods) increased by just 13 percent.” There you have it, concrete proof that you, me and we are being ripped off.

There are exceptions to this rule of course, the so-called dinosaurs of rock who could charge pretty much any price they care to think of and usually do. Led Zeppelin at the O2, Madonna on any one of her tours, The Rolling Stones on there ever lasting final tour, The Eagles, The Who, The Sex Pistols, Neil Young etc etc etc… they aren’t dead, just taking a tour. Prince once charged $3121 for tickets to his show. Woodstock cost $6 for a ticket, value for money however you look at it. Whether you view the festival of peace and love through nostalgic or cynical eyes, you cant help but think that what it stood for has slipped from the mainstream of music.

Sorry to all those people who have and continue to pay above the odds for a night out listening to music. Such is the power of music to move people that demand will never decrease but sadly Dr Krueger has more bad news for he thinks the price will continue to rise into the unforeseeable future. Sorry.

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