Today’s News: Summer Concerts Struggle to Please Fans

9 Jul

From this morning’s Wall Street Journal

“It’s not just that ticket prices are high, but bewildering. They can change based on when and where the tickets are purchased, making it hard to know if you’re getting the best seats for the best price. From quiet, targeted promos to last-minute fire sales, ticket discounting has emerged as one of the most divisive issues in the business. Some in the industry worry that potential buyers are being trained to wait for price cuts. Fans who buy early, only to see discounts roll out later, often feel penalized for their loyalty….
The industry is trying to rationalize all this by saying it’s the same as being on an airplane, where you don’t know what the person next to you paid,” says Alex Hodges, an independent promoter who runs Los Angeles-area venues including the Greek Theatre. Today’s music fans vigilantly monitor discussions online, so they know if others are getting a better deal.”

By the numbers:

“Overall full-year ticket sales have been rising for a decade, according to the trade publication Pollstar. But in a just-released report for the first six months of this year, Pollstar says the biggest acts are suffering: The top 100 tours in North America show gross ticket-sales revenue of $965.5 million, down 17% from a year earlier. Number of tickets sold: down 12%. Average gross per show, down 14.4%. Ticket prices now average $60.77, compared with $64.61 last year.”

And what does LiveNation have to say about all this? Their CEO, Jason Garner, defended the company’s practices and essentially blamed artists for the problems, saying “cancellations are part of the business.” Here’s the stunner, though:

Still, he says failed tours and slower ticket sales should serve as a collective wake-up call: “When 40% of tickets across the industry are going unsold, you have to have an honest talk about ticket prices.”

Are artists playing more shows than their fan bases can support to make up for falling record sales? Are promoters getting too greedy? What makes you go out and see a concert?


5 Responses to “Today’s News: Summer Concerts Struggle to Please Fans”

  1. Anonymous July 9, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    Great post, Steve. I like to see concerts where I don't have to think of it as a spending event. The odds of me seeing U2 for $250 are essentially 0.

  2. Anonymous July 10, 2010 at 1:20 am #

    I have no problem paying fair market price for tickets to a show, it's the astronomical service fees that keep me from going to more shows. How do companies like Ticketmaster justify imposing surcharges of up to 30% of face value on consumers? They add no value and prevent fans from attending more shows and supporting their favorite artists. That is what SUCKS!

  3. Anonymous July 13, 2010 at 12:19 am #

    I like it Steve. With the economy the way it is, everybody is trying to make the extra dollar and the competition between ticket agents, scalpers, and loyal fans is outrageous and needs to be dealt with. A quality summertime concert is what many fans live for and its become a battle just to see their favorite artists live. What Live Nation needs is a competitor who refuses to screw the fans over.

  4. Steve Blackman July 14, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

    Thanks for your comments. I think it's almost criminal what Ticketmaster does to its customers, the consequence of being allowed to monopolize the ticket sales business. With massive vertical integration (owning concert promoters, tour organizers, and venues) they're able to crowd smaller competitors out of the market. What's more, they use vague fees like the "building facility charge" to provide kickbacks to the venues for using them exclusively. Here in Chicago, that might seem like business as usual (think Blagojevich, Rod), but it's just plain wrong. One politician who is doing something about this is Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat from NJ. Check out the BOSS act, a piece of legislation he introduced last year to increase transparency in the ticket industry


  1. Today’s News: Amphitheaters in Trouble « FanFueled Blog - August 12, 2010

    […] spending as much to go see shows.  But there’s more than just the general economic malaise crippling major tours such as Lilith Fair, the Jonas Brothers, and Rihanna.  The major concert promoters, Live Nation […]

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