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Music Industry

Here’s an explanation of why concert tickets are so expensive this summer

Just like the price of gas and the chaos at airports, the cost of concert tickets is a global issue. But let’s drill down a bit. What’s behind the spike (~20%) in the price of an average concert ticket? Billboard tries to explain.

It breaks down like this:

  • Rising expenses on the part of the artist: Roadies, trucks, gas, other materials. They’re subject to the same inflation problems as the rest of us.
  • Profits are being split differently. According to Billboard, the split was traditionally 85% to the artist and 15% to promoters. Now, though, artists are asking for more and are taking more of the profit.
  • As a result, promoters have had to find money elsewhere, including service fees, order processing fees, and facility fees.

I’d add the following:

  • The higher the ticket price, the more you’re going to pay in sales tax. And if a jurisdiction allows for charging sales take on service fees, order processing fees, and facility fees…
  • Venues are charging more for parking and concessions. At the Sum 41 show at Budweiser Stage in Toronto, a brisket sandwich and a bottle of water set me back more than $30.
  • High demand. People are sick of COVID and want to go out. There are only so many seats in which to put bums.
  • Artists and promoters are trying to make up for lost time and money caused by COVID.
  • Currency exchange pressures. With the US dollar surging against currencies worldwide–and with so many artists demanding payment in American dollars–currencies like the loonie have less purchasing power.

Bottom line? If you wanna go to a show, pay up, buttercup.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37434 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

5 thoughts on “Here’s an explanation of why concert tickets are so expensive this summer

  • I’ve been to a ton of shows in my life. I think I started paying $15 for decent sized bands when I started going in ’98. With these prices my concert days are essentially over. I can afford to go but spending a few hundred for seats that are not even close is just a waste of money and time. I’m perfectly fine with watching shaky cell phone videos on my big screen tv + sound system to keep me satisfied now. That way I don’t have to pay for parking, deal with people, or wait in lines.
    If I like the band …. I am fine going to their website and ordering some merch to support them which I do quite often.

  • In addition, Canadian musicians touring the country are also faced with increased costs due to the fustercluck that is air travel. Bands are renting instruments and gear because they can’t trust the airlines to get theirs to the destination. And the same cancelled and delayed flights that impact everyone else add to the financial stress when you have minimal time between dates. Hotel rooms are double or triple what they were even last year when things opened up, and van rentals are dicey at best, expensive AF at the worst. This will hopefully be a short-term burden, but it’s bound to be factored in to smaller shows.

  • While the world thinks (including artists and promoters and everyone else in the chain) that they can simply raise the price of everything and call it “joining the inflation bandwagon” (which is an awesome way for an anyone to explain their way out of wanting to take more of the pie) – this sort of non-stop price climb will eventually collapse. Most sane people have limits and once the world “rights” itself (and it will mostly likely via recession ) – these artists and promoters and everyone else will need to drop back down to reality or play half full houses and deal with an unsustainable business model.

    Once I see any band clearly try to charge more for the same show I saw last time (or hasn’t put out an album in 10 years etc etc) is when I step off that wagon.

    This cannot last at these prices – plain and simple.

  • This article is the lamest excuse to the price hiking. PJ explicitly said that it was doing it to avoid scalpers and they force TM to not allow resale in the states that allows to block resales. If people are crazy enough to pay $600 plus fees for nosebleeders, thats great for them, put on their cc and pay interest. Those tickets will be much higher at $35 minimum cc payment. Yeah, poor PJ will live without my money, I will take the wife and kids to a nice local vacation for $1500 and then have change to spare.

  • It’s called GREED folks. Plain and simple. No excuses. Theses artists (@and promoters, etc.) should be ashamed of themselves for charging these ridiculous prices. Just go on the internet and watch a video of the concert on a big screen tv. Better than the nosebleed section of an arena. They are treating their fans (who, by the way, got these artists to where they are today) like pieces of meat and they could not care less about us anymore. We should show them all that we don’t care about them anymore, either. Boycott the concerts! If we don’t go, they will be forced to lower ticket prices or go broke.


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