Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ticket Prices Are On The Rise

It’s still happening. Artists are still way out of touch with their fan base. In some cases, they’ve signed a contract and have been given a ton of money, so they have little to no control over ticket prices. It’s the new record industry. Now it’s up to the corporate suits to determine the price of a concert, not the band and certainly not the fans.

One of the reasons that fans started stealing albums online was because of price. They couldn’t afford to pay $13 - $19 per album. I’m not saying that’s right, I’m saying that’s why it happened. And now, the same thing is happening with concerts. Only, the fans aren’t stealing concert tickets, they’ve just decided to not attend the shows. Who is hurt the most in the end? The artist is going to take the blame. The fans will hold them responsible justly or not. It’s their name on the marquee, not Live Nation’s. This results in fewer sold out shows, fewer performances in each city, and an overall general distaste in the minds of the fans.

Here’s a perfect example. I am a huge Bon Jovi fan. I love the band, love their songs, love them in concert. They are currently touring (starting in February) behind a greatest hits record. That means the tour is going to be chock full of nothing but the best songs! And the greatest hits album has 4 brand new songs on it. This is a disc that should already be in my collection. But it’s not. Because when I saw the ticket prices for their local concerts ($55 - $154) I told myself there was no way I was going to attend that show. And since I wasn’t going to the concert, there was no need for me to purchase their greatest hits album. Now the band just lost two sales – all due to corporate greed.

Yes, I know there are seats available at $30. That’s the joke. There’s only a few hundred of them (if that many), and they are not good seats. If I want a halfway decent seat to a good seat, I have to pay $55 to $300. Three hundred dollars? Are you serious? I can remember when all the ticket prices were the same and everyone had an equally fair shot of getting floor seats. I also remember standing in line to get those tickets. Times have changed and the internet has really changed the way ticket business is done. But $300 for a floor seat is ridiculous. And if you are worried about the scalpers buying them and selling them at that price anyway, then only offer Will Call for the floor seats. Or offer them to fan club members only. Or do something that will deter the scalpers in the first place.

Unfortunately, that will never happen. Not as long as greedy pigs like Irving Azoff are still in the picture. Their bottom line is money. Screw the fans! To me, that’s good news for the clubs like Starland Ballroom and the Wellmont Theatre. Tickets to shows at those venues are still affordable. Here is a list of some recent tours and their ticket prices. Note ALL of these prices are prior to any fees (which can add an additional $25 - $35 per ticket).

Prince – ranges between $27 - $173 with most tickets costing $111 or higher

Bon Jovi – ranges between $29.50 - $304.50 with most seats falling between $55 - $154

U2 – ranges between $30 - $250 with very few seats available at $30

John Mellencamp - $61, $148

Carrie Underwood - $45 - $67

Furthur - $50 - $70

Phish - $70

Kings Of Leon - $71

Hinder - $30

Notice the affordability of the Hinder tickets? That’s because they are touring clubs and haven’t been swooned by the corporate promoters yet. Give it time. The more popular Hinder becomes, the more likely they are to get a million dollar contract offer. And I couldn’t blame them for taking it. That would just mean I wouldn’t be seeing them in concert anymore. That’s the sad fact of the current ticket pricing structure. Corporate greed has hurt the music fan again. I see it every time I notice OAR ticket prices creeping up. Every year, the prices are a few dollars higher than the year before. Eventually, they will be another band off my list. It’s a shame and the ticket brokers ought to be ashamed.

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