Tickets to see live music have slowly become extortionately expensive, with tickets now being sold at over £100 not including fees, it is simply ridiculous. Back in the 1980s, it cost less than £10 to see giants, The Stone Roses but in 2016, The Stone Roses at Wembley were priced at £91. I hear you say this is due to inflation, however inflation surely can’t increase ticket prices by 3000%. How much higher can price get and why are prices rising?
Drake’s tickets were priced at £110 and Ed Sheeran’s tickets have increased by more than double since his Wembley Dates. For a Drake ticket to the O2, I could buy 3 tickets to see The 1975. Is this not an issue?
The rising prices are primarily due to the record labels, contracts, and management. However, it goes much deeper than this.
Muse are a band who have taken a “pay cut” to keep prices down. In a 2015 report to the UK Government, Prof Waterson writes that artists “may want to set prices with a social or fairness objective in mind, so that the possibility of concert attendance remains open to fans with lower disposable income.”
Online streaming has had a huge impact on ticket prices causing a forced increase as artists are having to find revenue elsewhere. Artists are only getting 0.0033p per stream on Spotify and digital revenue accounted for 45% of total revenues in 2015, a 10.2% increase.
Price of set or production and crew required also are factored in. Two Door Cinema Club’s extravagant show was only £24.50, so this can’t be the reason Drake’s tickets were so expensive. Yes he may of had an visually impressive show, much better than Two Door Cinema Club’s but not almost £100 more and Ed Sheeran as a singer/songwriter can only have so many visuals, whose prices have rocketed.
Unfairly, Hotel prices for artists are now included even if they stay at the best hotels.
The most scandalous part are the booking fees that sites add on to the already high prices. The recently announced Community Festival in London, had fees of £11.25 which were added to £35 for the ticket, coming to 24% of the final price
Booking Fees are the ticket companies additions to ‘cover their costs’. However, does this seem fair, if all they must cover are manpower, printing, and the technology to process my order. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be allowed to make a profit but all they are really doing is using ink on paper. It cannot simply be for administrative costs as the fees vary for artists playing at the same venue.
I researched this further and Helienne Lindvall (The Guardian) said “The answer to all these questions, according to some, is: the fee is calculated on the price of the ticket and much of it is used to cover the millions of pounds that Ticketmaster in effect pay venues (and promoters like Live Nation) to be their ‘preferred’ ticket solution.”
Artists and Managers simply do not agree with the fees but are reluctant to stand up against the power of ticketing companies and must accept the fees or not tour at all. Agents have claimed that Ticketmaster have often made more profit than the artists.
In 2016, Obama passed the Better Online Ticket Sales Act which effectively banned the use of ticket bots across the USA. So now people using the software and people buying tickets with knowledge that the software was used can be convicted.
Re-sale has been a thorn in the side of fans trying to get tickets to see their favourite bands/artists. Re-sale simply takes money away from artists by selling tickets at sky-high prices. Its outrageous, however there are sites such as Twickets who pride themselves in being a resale site who sell at face value and is between fans only.
Also trying to block scammers in 2015 and 2016, Adele teamed up with Songkick who developed technology to identify and block 53,000 potential scalpers from buying tickets to her 25 tour. Online site, The FADER were told by a rep that fans saved £50 million and less than 2% appeared on resale sites compared to the normal 20%.
Sites such as Ticketmaster have been accused of setting aside a certain amount of tickets to instantly put onto their resale site Get Me In to increase profit. Not only is this sneaky but this means for these tickets the artists will get no revenue. The xx at O2 Academy Brixton were originally sold at £34.75 but can be found on StubHub for up to £185. This is not the worst it has been.
Festival tickets have increased the most out of all. Reading and Leeds festival has increased by 52% in 10 years, with a ticket in 2006 costing £135 but now festival-goers will have to fork out £205. Worst of all, Latitude has increased by 103% over the 10 year period, with a ticket costing £95 in its first year but last year cost £192.50 not including fees. This highlights that festival prices are detached from reality
You can beat the bots and booking fees by buying your tickets at the venues ticket office, however if the gig is at a large venue like The O2 don’t have this option and the only way to get tickets is through the stress of attempting through online sites.
In the prices of live music in the UK are ridiculous. Music should be accessible to everyone, no matter of how much money you have. With live music becoming more and more popular, surely it should be more financially accessible for fans.
Prices will eventually hit a peak followed by a plateau but how high will this be?
Is there anything we can do or as fans just have to sit here and do nothing? I don’t know the answer but something must be done, consumers need to stop be so f*cking naïve and wake the f*ck up. Realise we, as the music community, are getting screwed over and things need to change.