Pollstar is the go-to place for news on the concert industry. According to its 2018 mid-year report, revenues from concert ticket sales are up 12% over this point last year to $2.21 billion USD.
Nice, right? Music fans should be happy about a healthy touring environment. But if you do the math, a lot of this increase is due to higher ticket prices. I quote:
Soaring average ticket prices contributed significantly to worldwide touring’s ascendant gross with a record high of $96.31 – a 14.1% increase and nearly $12 ($11.91) jump over 2017’s $84.40. The precipitous rise speaks to the industry’s aggressive pricing strategy to better meet demand and exclude the secondary market. This, while total tickets sold remained relatively constant from last year with a small 2.1% drop to 22.9 million from last year’s 23.4 million.
The tally’s ticket price high was set by “Springsteen On Broadway” which on average cost $509 – more than 12 times as much as the survey’s lowest tout of $40 for Marvel Universe Live! (apples and oranges).
Much like internationally, however, the North American market’s average ticket prices for the Top 100 spiked and set a record high at $85.97, with an even steeper 19.1% leap over last year’s $72.16, which again speaks to the industry strategy of better selling into demand.
Interesting, too, that there was actually a small drop (2.1%) in the number of tickets sold vs last year. That means that the higher prices more than compensated.
The best-selling tour so far this year belongs to Ed Sheeran with a gross of $214 million through 52 shows with 2.6 million tickets going for an average of about $81.
Second spot went to Bruno Mars (average ticket price: $132) and followed by The Rolling Stones (average price: $159).