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jca's avatar

Why are concerts so expensive now, and are you willing to pay $150-$200 for a concert ticket?

Asked by jca (35989points) June 22nd, 2015

Recent Fluther question about concerts made me think: When I was a teen and young adult, a concert (rock concert at a big venue like a stadium) was anywhere between $8.50 and $12 a ticket. Now to see a big act it’s about $150 a ticket. Most other consumer goods have not risen to a comparable extent.

Do you know the reason why, or can you speculate as to why, concert tickets have gone up so much in price?

The last concert I saw was Motley Crue, and that was $150 a ticket. That was two years ago.

Are you willing to pay $150 a ticket for a maximum of two hours of a concert, even for your favorite band? I go to few concerts now, as it seems like a rip off to pay that much, except for the few and far between.

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25 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I won’t spend that kind of money on a concert, that may or may not be any good.

zenvelo's avatar

I have paid in the $135 – $175 range for tickets to exceedingly good shows and great seats. I paid $150 a ticket to see David Byrne at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, front row, two seats off center. Well worth it, wonderful show, wonderful evening.

But I will not pay that much for a stadium show, no matter who it is. And I won’t pay that much for an arena show unless the tickets are excellent.

$150 is not unreasonable given the cost for good seats to a Broadway hit, or a top notch opera.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Uh NO! But then again I dislike large crowds with a passion.
The last big named band I saw was in a night club, that wasn’t bad.
But to pay those types of prices and fight the crowds, park miles away , and listen to the crowd scream it’s face off,I would rather just buy the CD thanks.

keobooks's avatar

Entertainment costs have skyrocketed in the last several decades. When I was a kid, going out to the movies every other weekend was no big deal—not just the matinee, I’m talking the big ticket prices. Now we have to choose between one afternoon at the movies (because matinee prices start at 2pm or something now. When I was a kid, it didn’t start until 6.) OR going out to dinner for a month.

I can’t find the article I read the other day, but it was about the history of how affordable Disney World was. When the park first opened in the late 50s, it cost you $3.50 to get in. Even when you factor in 60 years of inflation, 3.50 is still nothing compared to the 105 dollar minimum to get into the Magic Kingdom only. Forget about the cost to stay at a hotel near the area, park your car and eat food there. Forget all the special kinds of tickets you’re pushed to buy so you don’t spend your entire day standing around in line. Disney used to be the kind of place that you could just pop off and do on a whim some weekend. Now it’s a luxury vacation people save up for years to afford.

In my teens and early 20s, I’d go to several concerts a month during the summer. It was just a fun thing to do. I went to see bands that I didn’t like very much. Heck, I went to bands I’d never even heard of just because I was in the mood for a concert the night the mystery band was playing. Now people plan going to concerts maybe once every few years and they are bands that you’ve been a diehard fan of for years.

I think it’s sad that the price of leisure and entertainment has skyrocketed so outrageously. Things that were an affordable treat for everyone are now a serious investment for a one night deal.

Pachy's avatar

If Sinatra were alive and in his prime (‘50s and early ‘60s) you bet I’d pay $200, maybe more.

I did see him in concert once in Phoenix but don’t recall what I paid. It was the early ‘80s, I think, and The Voice wasn’t in very good voice… but I still loved being in that audience. Would you believe I wound up missing him, Sammy and Lisa do a a free impromptu set at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel by a couple of hours… which to this day I kick myself for.

jca's avatar

@Pachy: I stayed at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel! It was great.

josie's avatar

The ticket prices are only so high as people are willing to pay.
At some price point, people will stop buying enough tickets to provide a ROI for the promoters.
Then the price will go down, or freeze, or the concerts will simply stop happening.

I would not pay $200 a ticket for a run of the mill rock show.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I refuse to do it. In the past I would occasionally relent to accommodate the missus. But nothing irritates me more than standing in an interminable line then being required to pay for the privilege. And there is absolutely nothing or no one worth 200 of my dollars for 2 hours of entertainment.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I go to a lot of concerts, and I never pay that much. I’m not paying over $100 to sit in a crowd of thousands and see nothing. I’d much rather go to a small venue, see the band up close, and pay $10—$40.

It’s only superstars playing stadiums that cost so much. Those shows are totally worth missing. Chances are, by that point, I’ve already seen them play anyway.

But my point is, it’s only a small minority of live shows which are that expensive. @josie is right – the price rises to whatever people are willing to pay. Because the stadium experience is so crappy, I suspect the people who are going either want to display status by going to see the current superstar, or they’re handing money to their kids for the same privilege.

anniereborn's avatar

I go to more Broadway type shows than I do concerts. (mostly becuz they are closer to me and I have a connection where I sometimes get comps).
I’ve paid around 50 to go see a musical. I’m not sure my highest concert ticket price. Maybe around 40ish. The last band I saw was Porcupine Tree six years ago. I think the tickets were 40.

tinyfaery's avatar

I have spent that, and more and I would again in the future. I don’t spend a lot of money on entertainment so if I pay that for a concert once or twice a year it’s not a big deal.

ragingloli's avatar

I would only pay that much if the price included a free gigolo.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Ticket prices to such shows are so expensive because people have shown that they’re willing to pay that much. I’ve splurged, relatively speaking, to see a handful of nostalgia acts at around $50—$60 over the years. There is no way in hell, however, that I’d spend $150 to see a bunch of washed-up 60 year-old cokeheads trying to pretend that they’re still 25.

Coloma's avatar

I would have in the past but there is nothing I want to see badly enough any more at this stage of my life. haha

johnpowell's avatar

Bit of madness there. I went to the first Tibetan Freedom Concert. A two day pass was 80 bucks for:

The Smashing Pumpkins, Chaksam-pa, Beastie Boys, A Tribe Called Quest, Pavement, Cibo Matto, Biz Markie, Richie Havens, John Lee Hooker, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Sonic Youth, Beck, Foo Fighters, Björk, De La Soul, Fugees, Buddy Guy, The Skatalites, Yoko Ono/Ima and No Doubt.

I just saw Screeching Weasel the other night and that was 25 bucks. I probably wouldn’t have gone if my sister didn’t have a spare ticket.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@Pachy & @jca Is that the one in Pheonix? The Frank Lloyd Wright one near Camelback? Me too! I stayed there in 2008. That place was beautiful. Especially the interior lighting at night. Wright spent a ton of money to gild the ceiling with gold leaf so that it would reflect ambient light just like that of a desert campfire. And it worked. Crazy genius.

JLeslie's avatar

The prices do stop me from going. I might part with the money if I felt it was a once in a lifetime, can’t miss the opportunity, concert, but I have even passed on those, because tickets were $500+.

I almost never go to Broadway shows in NY for the same reason. I see the shows on tour in my local market.

Concerts, sporting events, theatre, it’s all getting outrageous.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

For major acts where the ‘show’ is as much part of the performance as the music, it costs a fortune to truck all the equipment, stage stuff around. This is especially true in countries like Australia that are so big. It’s not like the Rolling Stones or U2 hop in the back of a Kombie van with their guitars and then jump on the stage and play. Consequently, most big concerts here cost a lot to attend. Certainly $200–300 plus is normal for good seats. They can cost up to $600 per seat but I wouldn’t pay that. You can usually get seats for $90–150, but they’ll be further back in the venue. Less prominent performers concerts that are held in smaller venues might be $80–130 plus and pub venues much less. I’ll pay quite a bit to see a band or performer I really like. However some performers really milk it and if I feel they’re over-the-top, I won’t buy.

Australians invariably get ripped off when it comes to buying anything imported from overseas or paying for concert tickets. I’m not talking about an additional cost to cover transport, I’m talking seriously inflating prices.

jerv's avatar

I think that’s a little ridiculous.

Personally, my favorite band (Abney Park) tends to price their tickets to be within the means of a struggling college student; generally $15 (fifteen dollars). As Seattle is a college town, that makes sense. When you consider that they are THE band in their genre, actually “big” enough to have just completed another European tour, and are about to drop their 19th album, I’d say that’s a pretty good price for a 4-hour show, especially since the band mingles with the audience during intermission and after the show; you don’t need special VIP tickets or anything for a “meet and greet” or to get your picture taken with them.

However, they are an indie band, and I think that cuts down their costs a bit, which allows them to charge such low ticket prices and still make enough to pay the bills. There is no label demanding their cut; all the money Abney Park makes goes to them. Granted, they have to turn around and give a chunk of that to general operating costs (transportation being the biggest one, though getting thousands of CDs pressed and shipped isn’t free either) but cutting out the middle-men allows them to do what they do without needing to charge exorbitant prices.

Wasn’t Motley Crue’s last tour their 5th “farewell tour”?

Darth_Algar's avatar

@jerv “Wasn’t Motley Crue’s last tour their 5th “farewell tour”?”

They really, really mean it this time. Like really.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Relevant news article about concert costs in Australia.

Silence04's avatar

i would pay $150+ for a specialty show with a top billing artist… Like pearl jam or Paul McCartney at wriggle field or similar. I definitely wouldn’t pay that for a standard stadium show.

I do frequent multi-day music festivals, which have 100+ bands on the lineup and $350 tickets prices.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Most of the people I would pay that kind of money to see are either dead or retired.

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