music festival

Rock On, and Pay Up: The Rising Cost of Concert Tickets

It’s Not Just Inflation

While everything seems to be costing more these days, spending more to attend a concert in person is not an entirely recent trend. From 2010 to 2020, the average ticket price for the country’s top touring acts increased by 55%.

Even more recently, concert tickets have continued to rise in price worldwide, jumping 11% on average between 2019 and last year. In North America, the typical ticket went up 14% over the same time period. Ticket sales were up by 45% in mid-February compared to three years ago, according to the world’s largest concert promoter, Live Nation (LYV).

Why Focus on VIPs?

Price hikes for things like VIP upgrades and neat-stage seating are contributing to the increase in average ticket costs. Analysts say artists and touring promotion companies find these types of sales particularly important for several reasons.

By increasing revenue from VIP sections, so-called back-of-the-house areas can be priced lower. Specialty seating packages are also easier to adjust in price based on demand, as opposed to thousands of other seats located inside of a venue. Broadly speaking, the live concert industry wants to sell its tickets as close to market price as possible, since they see no profits from when they change hands on resale sites like StubHub (EBAY).

The COVID Effect

With the majority of live performances canceled over the past two years, there’s naturally a good deal of pent up demand for things like concerts. Big names hitting the road this year include Billie Eilish, Elton John, and the Eagles. The average ticket price for each act is anywhere from $20 to $45 more than before the pandemic.

After last year took a sort of clunky path toward resuming concerts, with many pandemic restrictions still in place, some market observers are calling this a potential “banner year.” Plus, affordability may not be a huge issue for people buying non-VIP seating, as Live Nation says the cheapest seats remain available for around $25 to $50, and haven’t risen with inflation. It could make for a summer where both the music and money are flowing.

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James Flippin ABOUT James Flippin James Flippin is the son of a financial advisor who grew up hearing and learning about bond yields, interest rates, the stock market, and the ins and outs of Wall Street. After stints as a licensing and business broker for Marcus and Millichap in New York City, James moved into broadcasting and became a reporter and anchor. He covered crime, politics, finance, and tech at NBC News Radio while working part-time as a producer for SiriusXM. James graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics. He's also an accomplished podcaster with over 10-years of experience.

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