Music Industry

The average concert ticket in Toronto now costs $121. But is anyone really surprised? (I’m shocked it’s that low.)

A report in the Toronto Star reveals that the average price of a concert ticket in the city is $121. Gee. Shocking.

Anyone who has tried to buy a ticket to a reasonably big-name gig has known this for some time. With the collapse of physical music sales, prices of concert tickets have been on an upward trajectory for years. And with all the different levels of tickets ranging from uber-expensive super VIP meet-and-greet options to cheap (well, cheapish) seats up in the nosebleeds, the math says that things will average out pretty high.

Oh, and these are the retail prices of tickets--if you can buy them that way and not on the secondary market.

Why the big increase? High demand, for one. A need for artists to find revenue streams in the era of streaming. The demand for large, expensive stage productions. Additional costs associated with COVID such as insurance and medical coverage. Insurance costs because of tragedies like Astroworld. Venue fees have gone up because they lost so much money over the last two years. Higher face value prices mean higher taxes and service feeds. And finally, fans have proven time and time again that they’re willing to pay the asking price, no matter how high.

Surprised? Hardly. In fact, I’ll say that I’m shocked that the average price isn’t actually higher.

The full story can be found here.

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 38296 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “The average concert ticket in Toronto now costs $121. But is anyone really surprised? (I’m shocked it’s that low.)

  • I’m a bit surprised you are not more critical of this article which I don’t think is accurate. I know that you don’t pay for concert tickets, but I would think that you are aware of the average prices and then trends over the past decade. Here’s what I wrote on the article on…

    hmm. I have been going to about 30 shows a year for the past 5 years and have hundreds under my belt going back to my teens. I question how they gathered this data. I have of course seen the cost of tickets go up over the years, but I think this “average” rise is more to do with the way the Ticketmaster “dynamic pricing” works. To see an example, take a look at the Red Hot Chili Peppers show. Many, many tickets available yet most are at Official Platinum seats which makes no sense because there clearly is no demand for them. Case in point, they have seat listed for $2,500+. Same for Jack White. I got floors for his upcoming show for just over $100. Now you must pay $335 for some extra package.

    My guess is the author just looked at the ticketmaster website and spoke to a handful of people. I don’t believe they have a deep knowledge of the pricing trends. We don’t know if the people who were interviewed purchased regular priced tickets, platinum, one of the many packages that exist today, or verified resale for example. It would be better to get the total gate and then divide it by the number of seats sold.

    Additionally, the $1/250 Spotify streams is not the full story. That $1 gets split between the writers, performers, and publishers. Depending on the deal the artist made, they could get more or less but certainly not the full cut. Artists have always made their money touring. At the height of album sales, the musicians in GnR were making $1 per album sale. I don’t know how much other artists were earning, but I would guess less or at most the same. So even then, most artists were not getting rich through their recorded music.

  • I used to enjoy concerts, but when tickets cost $100 (if one is lucky, and those up high at horrible angles), I lose interest fast. I’m now looking at a ticket stub for a Mellencamp show in 1992 that I paid $43.75. And that’s floor seat. Back then it was first come, first serve. You wanted floor seats, and you were first in line, first dibs. Can’t say that anymore. Neil Young & Crazy Horse (with two opening acts) was $32.00 (again, floor seats). The Cure in 1996 for $47.50 for the tenth row. Unbelievable! I can go on. It all changed when The Eagles reunited, and they started to charge astronomical prices that was unheard of.

    Back in the day many of the rock shows were ROCK SHOWS. No fancy lighting or stage presentations. The focus was on the music and the musicians performing it. That helped to keep costs down. Now people are interested in posting the experiences online, so it isn’t so much about the live experience. Anyhow, I’m off topic now.

    When I looked at Paul McCartney three years ago, I could’ve seen him for $150 up in the rafters in the back. For The Rolling Stones, closer to $200 a year later. When I saw the Foo Fighters four years ago, it was over $100 for nose-bleeds. I like to think that greed is a part of it. Then again, Tom Petty once said in an interview that he worked hard to keep ticket prices low, and people thought he was crazy. He did it so just about anybody could have the opportunity to experience what he and the Heartbreakers would do on stage. Also, we are speaking of an artists that resisted album prices from being increased.

    Lastly, from my understanding, it was merchandise sales that really raked in the dollars for bands in the days of less expensive shows. I’m guessing less people buy the merch like they used to because you don’t see as many concert shirts these days — just band merch you can find just about anywhere. Maybe that’s why they feel they need to jack up prices — to supplement the loss of income from lack of merchandise sales. The fans’ social media pages will show their fandom with videos and pictures of shows instead of showing pride in a concert shirt.

    Just my two cents.


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