Everyone knows that concert tickets have been rising in price and since 1995 there have been several events that have pushed up the prices of tickets. In 1995 the launch of CD-RW drives meant a boom in piracy of recorded music. The reaction to this in the industry was a steep price hike. In 1999 Napster and the iPod launched which again was met by the industry massively increasing prices. In the 21st Century, as business models changed and artists decided that their bread and butter was no longer recorded music, but it was live shows instead. Since then there has been a rise in online streaming an a brief vinyl renaissance, but the live show die has already been cast.
In the 1980s the top 1% of musicians took home 25% of all concert ticket income, by the 1990s this had gone up to 56%. This coincided with a massive rise in ticket prices. Between 1981 and 1996 concert ticket prices grew by 1.5% over the rate of inflation, but in the period 1986-2003 they grew by 6.6% above the rate of inflation. Since then they have risen every year at a higher rate. By 2015 the average price of a concert ticket was $74.75.
Lets look at some of the average concert ticket prices in the UK just now:
Arcade Fire – £65
The Libertines – £35
Papa Roach – £41
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – £44
Depeche Mode – £57-£65
These are an indication that you won’t get to a major concert in the UK for under £30, and to be honest I was surprised to see tickets that cheap for a major tour when I was doing this research.
Most big tours from world famous acts are now in the £65-£450 bracket, depending on the quality of the ticket. This is just for standard tickets and not for any VIP experiences, guest list or any of the other new types of ticket that seem to be appearing at premium prices.
In 2012 Madonna was quoted as saying “my fans should save up all year to come to my concerts.” With prices for tickets averaging well over £50 a pop at a time when real-terms wages have been in decline for a decade and wage growth is at its lowest since the Napoleonic wars she is probably right. There are also reports of people on twitter using their rent money to pay for concert tickets. Some tickets can cost more than a weeks wages.
Disposable income is at its lowest level since the 1950s and there are numerous reports of people choosing between food and being able to wash themselves. Food bank use is also at its highest level ever and with the looming spectre of Brexit and an anticipated economic collapse because of it the times of affordable tickets seem to be in the distant future.