The ongoing cost of living crisis is now affecting the music industry and concertgoers too. Soaring prices for concert tickets mean that many fans can no longer afford to see their favourite artists perform live but what is the reason behind the recent concert ticket price hikes?
What Influences the Price of a Concert Ticket?
Inflation is partly responsible, however, it isn’t the only factor influencing concert ticket prices. If it were, then we’d expect to see ticket prices rising roughly in line with inflation. However, a study by the BBC in 2018 found that concert tickets had more than doubled since the late 90s, suggesting that factors other than inflation are having more of an influence. This includes rising production costs, venue rental, operational costs and increased profit margins for artists and promoters.
What’s Causing These Dramatic Increases?
There’s no denying that just as concert ticket prices are rising, the costs of staging a concert are going up too. This is partly a result of the logistical issues caused by Brexit.
Touring Europe is now more costly and complicated for many UK performers due to the need for Visas, as well as cabotage rules for tour buses. This means promoters are having to fork out more on private jet rental for artist and equipment transportation.
Music festivals and outdoor concerts also face increased costs for essential equipment such as fencing, toilet hire and stages, as well as the costs associated with hiring and training staff.
Substantially Increased Production Costs
A significant factor impacting ticket prices is the substantially increased production costs that artists and promoters face when organising an event or tour.
As the cost of living rises, so does the cost of venue hire, particularly since venues themselves are facing higher overheads, including increased tax, insurance and energy costs. Many smaller venues have been badly affected by the rising cost of living with some already shutting their doors and others under threat of closure. This can further exacerbate the issues as it means fewer venues available and higher demand that further pushes up costs.
Performers, artists, and technicians are not immune to the rising cost of living either, and as individuals and bands face hikes in their day-to-day expenses, they may be forced to raise their fees to cover their outgoings, which can make it even more challenging for event organisers to keep production costs low without compromising on the quality of the act or cutting into their own profits.
Why Live Performance is More Important Than Ever
Despite soaring production costs and ticket prices, artists need live performances more than ever, particularly since royalties don’t pay as much as they used to.
Whilst the advent of streaming services such as Spotify has revolutionised music for listeners and given many artists a global audience for the first time, it has also had an overwhelmingly negative effect on artists’ incomes. Reported earnings for a single Spotify stream range from $0.003 to $0.04, meaning that up-and-coming or niche artists will struggle to support themselves on plays alone.
As a result, artists both big and small need to generate income through live performance, whether that’s world tours, shows, gigs or festivals.
It’s clear that concert ticket price hikes are harming the ability of many fans to support their favourite artists and experience live music. However, with musicians facing rising production costs and falling incomes, it’s less clear how this issue can be resolved in a way that benefits both music lovers and the artists they want to support.