The Next Big Thing in Concert Tickets? Something Called “Ticket Bundling.”

Heard of “ticket bundling” yet? You will.

This is a practice where an artist announces a tour and simultaneously offers a free copy of a new album with every ticket sold.

Admittedly, this isn’t all that new. Prince pioneered the practice at least a decade ago and Arcade Fire did something along these lines earlier this year. But the idea is catching on with more acts of all levels.

This week, when U2 announced the first round of dates for their Songs of Experience tour, they made it clear that everyone who buys a ticket through will get a copy of the record after it comes out December 1. (I’m assuming this will be a physical copy or a downloadable digital version rather than something that just shows up in your iTunes library. They won’t do that again.)

This shows just how much the music industry has been flipped upside down. In the Olden Days, there were sometimes offers of a free concert ticket (or something similar) with the purchase of a new album. Live performance is where the money is these days and not in selling pieces of plastic.

Nice idea, but there are some industry implications that come with ticket bundling. Remember that record charts are how the record industry keeps score. Does giving away an album with the sale of the concert ticket carry the same weight as the sale of a record in a music store? Should a ticket-bundled record count towards sales numbers?

These are things that are going to need to be worked out. Meanwhile, though, fans are probably gonna love this. I think. Thoughts?

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.

4 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing in Concert Tickets? Something Called “Ticket Bundling.”

  • November 4, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Interesting to note that there are some companies capitalizing on the bundle idea. SOUNDRINK sells upgrade packages to people who already have tickets to the show. It can get quite pricey for the meet and greets and merch bag bundles. There’s more trust when it’s done directly by the artist, I think.

  • November 4, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    With the proliferation of iTunes, Spotify, iPods, iPhones, android devices etc, most people I assume will just want this on their device(s). Who needs to wait for a physical copy of the album when iTunes or Spotify gives it to you instantly.

    And who even has a CD player anymore?

    Willing to bet this counts in record sales numbers (reasonably the buyer of a concert ticket would buy the album) unlike when U2 just gave the world a copy for free including many people who cleary didn’t want it.

    Will be curious to see how this evolves. The cost must be enormous. Payback?

  • November 5, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    It’s why certain Artists record went to number one right away. Because they gave away a free CD with the ticket or a pack of gum or a pair of shoes etc. It’s also the reason why their record dropped 92 to 90% the second week that it was out on the Billboard charts because the numbers were inflated

  • November 6, 2017 at 10:09 am

    I did this with the National on their recent tour. Tickets weren’t more expensive because of the bundled music, every ticket included the album. Teh promoter also gave options to buy discounted ( over retail) cds and vinyl.


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