Would you buy a ticket to see your favourite artist perform, or skip out on it, if the prices were off-the-charts? Either way, observers say there are three main reasons for the head-shaking figures.
- Rise of the Bots
According to a report by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the illegal practice of ‘bot-buying’ has led to soaring ticket prices.
In frustrating instances, tickets to popular events sell out within minutes, only to be re-sold on third-party platforms with massive mark-ups.
The report suggests that the business of ticketing is a game that is extremely susceptible to ‘fixing’, and the more in-demand the event is, the more likely you’ll see crazy ticket prices.
In one instance, over 1000 tickets to a U2 concert at New York’s prestigious Madison Square Garden were bought barely a minute after the concert went on sale.
In 2013, a ticket bot acquired 520 tickets to Beyoncé’s concert in just three minutes. The year before, over 500 tickets to a One Direction concert were snapped up in five minutes.
Well these massive transactions were made by single vendors, which were able to trick the system by using different IP addresses to bypass the ticket-selling platforms’ security measures.
And such sales can reap huge profits through black-market re-selling.
The report cited one unlicensed ticket vendor who made nearly USD 31 million re-selling tickets on third-party platform Stubhub.
- A Bigger and More Expensive Stage
Over USD 1 million was spent to put together Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ tour – each night.
And she performed a total of 98 concerts as part of the tour from 2012-2013.
So although the tour grossed over USD 180 million in earnings, more than half the amount was spent putting and tearing down the stage.
The stage was quite a spectacle though.
It was the largest touring scenic structure ever, towering over 5 storeys in height and revolving around a gigantic Gothic castle which weighed around 27,000 kg.
The parts were so huge and complex that it took 15 tractors just to move the castle around, and over six hours to assemble.
The ‘Queen of Pop’ Madonna too, spared no expense on her ‘Sticky and Sweet’ tour, spending over USD 2 million per show.
Each side of the stage was flanked by two large diamond-studded ‘M’s, and each night, Madonna arrived on stage in a Rolls-Royce, it’s no wonder that the entire tour cost over USD 260 million to stage.
An artist manager who has worked with megastars like Kid Rock and Toto said the downside of creating all these fantastic sets is the high costs, which gets passed on the consumer through ticket prices.
But why all the pressure to have such great sets?
- It’s the Industry
Well, industry experts say the music industry is changing, so artists can’t make money selling records these days.
And that’s all a result of free music platforms like Spotify, and illegal streaming and downloading services.
The loss of album sales means that artists have to go on tours to recoup album expenditures.
And to do so, they charge more for live concert experiences, making the shows more expensive to put on.
But that’s not all.
There’s also merchandise, VIP packages, fan meet-and-greets – everything is for sale on tours, in the hope that the fans cash in.
Observers say that in the coming years, concerts will be the main source, if not a vital source of income.
What’s the most expensive concert ticket you ever bought?