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jca2's avatar

Do you feel that individual singers or groups should keep concert prices at something reasonable, or do you think they should charge what the market will bear?

Asked by jca2 (16471points) June 28th, 2019

Concert tickets for famous groups have such high prices, many people can’t afford or won’t pay the price to go.

It’s not unusual for a rock concert to cost several hundred dollars per ticket. Ten years ago a ticket might have been $150, now $300 is more the norm. Rolling Stones are going to cost in the area of $500 for a floor seat. I wouldn’t pay that much, even though I love the Stones and they might not be around much longer.

In the 1980’s, a concert used to cost about $12 per ticket. When you weigh that with inflation, concert ticket prices have skyrocketed in a way that is not in line with the economy.

I can’t or won’t pay for what a concert costs, and a lot of people I know say they are not willing to pay those prices either.

Do you think rock groups (or individual singers) should try to keep concert prices lower or do you think they should charge whatever the market will bear? Of course they have the right to charge whatever they want – this isn’t a question about their rights.

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12 Answers

chyna's avatar

Ack! I just looked up the price of Queen tickets. Floor prices are 1,300.
I used to pay anywhere from 5.50 to 10.00 in the 80’s. So only wealthy people get to see live concerts. It’s a shame. All bands will say they tour for the fans, but they have to know the average person will never get to see them.

Darth_Algar's avatar

The problem is that what’s “reasonable” for one person is out of the question for another. $500 might not be unreasonable for someone how has the money to piss away.

But anyway, artists themselves don’t actually set ticket prices. The promoter does. The promoter must pay the band, the venue, pay for all advertising, etc, etc and then must make some profit for themself once all their costs are accounted for.

The band sets their price, what they hire out for (kinda like a plumber). The band must pay for their travel expenses, lodging, food, insurance (add in something like pyrotechnics and those insurance costs skyrocket), labor, etc for not just themselves but for their crew as well. For a band playing in small venues (like old, converted theaters, dancehalls, etc) that crew might be a couple of people. For bands like Metallica or the Rolling Stones, who play huge production shows in large arenas, that crew becomes 100 people.

So, while I agree that ticket prices for such acts are becoming somewhat out-of-reach for many, myself included (though there’s really no arena acts I’m really interested in seeing anymore), the cost isn’t without reason and it’s not simply the artists being greedy. The costs to put on the kind of shows these bands do is enormous.

johnpowell's avatar

I look at like pro athletes. The majority of acts are only going to be able command high ticket prices for a short window. Might as well get all they can while they can.

And the thing with ticket prices is even if the prices were below market people would just resell them. I would rather the band get the money before a scalper.

zenvelo's avatar

One of the dis-economies of ticket prices is that a band or act may offer a reasonably priced ticket, but then scalpers step in and resell a seat for a much higher price. That is what has driven the cost of many tickets, whether it is the Stones or tickets to Hamilton.

JLeslie's avatar

I think it would be nice if tickets were more reasonable. I’m good with them making a nice profit, but sky high prices like with any product or service means people with less money don’t have a chance, or, they spend an unreasonable percentage of there income to buy the tickets.

Probably, there should be a limit on how many can be bought at once also on one order. Maybe this is already done? To prevent one person from hoarding tickets and scalping them. Still, it wouldn’t be too hard for a group of people to get together and buy a lot of tickets.

I won’t pay more than $120, that’s kind of my limit, and the $120 better be buying me really good seats.

I have no idea how much money is profit on these tours? That would be interesting to know. I believe they work really hard, especially physically, with all the driving around and setting up. Plus, there was all the time beforehand practicing. I don’t begrudge them wanting to make some money, but like anything, extreme greed turns me off, and I prefer not to partake.

I wonder if singers make more or less than before when they release a recording totally separate from revenue from concerts.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Generally speaking most artists don’t make shit off album sales. There’s all these different folks, from the label to the producer, to management, and so, who must get their slice of the pie before the artist does. By the time the plate gets passed to the artist there’s little to nothing left.

And that’s assuming that the label was “recouped” their investment. Ever dollar the label puts into the album, the packaging, the advertisement (including music videos which sometimes cost more than the album itself cost to make) and the artist in other ways (such as money for touring support and even that bag of blow the label’s A&R guy just bought to give to the band a “little something special, my treat”) is essentially a highly usurious loan. And before the artist sees one single penny from the album sales the label must recoup their investment.

A few artists make good money from album sales. Especially the ones who pay for their own recording sessions. Some can even make damn good money from album sales (like Metallica, who by the mid-90s were big enough to strongarm their label into a sweetheart of a deal that guaranteed them something like 25% of each unit sold). But most don’t make anything substantial from their recorded music. For most artists the only real money they can make is from live performance. (Well, sometimes merch sales too, but the labels are even trying to take a cut of that now.)

KNOWITALL's avatar

I remember the Jackson Victory Tour in the 80’s and tickets were terribly expensive because they were so popular and everyone wanted them. My mom won ours and I was the happiest kid in the world.

So for me, if it’s simply supply and demand. If there’s enough demand, you can charge what you need to, especially for entertainment, which is optional.

jca2's avatar

The last concert I saw was Guns n Roses about a year and a half ago, and I was taken by someone. Before that, I saw Heart at a casino and Barry Manilow at a casino, and both were about $150 each. I’m not too into Barry Manilow but i figured for 150 it would be a night out with my daughter and a girlfriend who lives up that way. I saw B-52’s recently, too at a local theater, also in the area of $150. Jefferson Starship, about $70, also at the local theater.
Those were all the recent ones.

Prior to that, I saw Motley Crue, also at a casino, also about $150. I think the most expensive concert I saw was Kiss and Aerosmith and that was 200 over 10 years ago.

When I was younger I saw concerts all the time, about 10 or 20 dollars. Then up to 50. Now it’s jumped way up very quickly.

About 200 is my absolute max.

ucme's avatar

Chef asked for a pay rise recently citing “expensive” (for him) concert tickets as the primary reason for having the temerity to even think of such a cheeky request.
Apparently he’s a big fan of Barnaby Swagdorff & his Bolivian nasal flute quartet…who knew.
You can guess my reaction…if ya clever!

Darth_Algar's avatar

Last concert I went to I paid $25 for my ticket and it was in a seriously small venue with a capacity of like 150 people. Best concert experience I’ve ever had.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Most musical artists actually only really make real money on tour. That is unless they are so famous that they have celebrity status.

kritiper's avatar

Whatever the market will allow and still be a sell-out. We are capitalists after all…

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