Why Concert Tickets Are So Expensive

This is the unfortunate reality for music fans around the world, including the US: it's getting harder and harder to afford to go see your favorite artist. But just why is that?

These days, at the time of post-COVID high inflation, everything is getting noticeably more expensive - concert tickets are no exception to that. In 2019, according to the numbers by the concert trade publication Pollstar, the average concert ticket price in the United States was a nice, cool $69.50. By 2023, after COVID hit, it has grown to $116.41.

And you shouldn’t expect that to go down any time soon, unfortunately.

So, to answer the question of why ticket prices are so expensive, part of it is general inflation. To oversimplify it, governments around the world took on additional national debt during the COVID lockdowns to fund stimulus programs, thus avoiding a total economic crisis. However, as the lockdowns were lifted and the economy reopened, governments (in most places) did not do the needed countermeasures to combat the effects of increased money supply, such as raising central bank interest rates high enough or cutting welfare spending, in fear of losing voters - this has now led to the high inflation you see everywhere, including at the box offices of concert venues.

Another thing that drives ticket prices higher up is the fact the top musicians of the world make most of their income from going on tour, not through selling albums or streaming their music. For example, Taylor Swift’s ongoing The Eras Tour has grossed over $1 billion already, the first tour to ever cross that monumental 10-figure threshold - and it still has a full year to go!

It’s either the artist themselves or their promoters who set the price of the ticket.

They know they have to make most of their ‘bag’ there, while also covering the venue rentals - which too have risen, due to the increased utility costs in recent years. As a music fan, alas, there is nothing you can do about the increase. However, as the tiniest consolation, you can take a look at the FinancialBuzz’s analysis, which breaks down the average price of concert tickets per genre in the US, as per the 2021 prices.

The fans of Christian music had to pay the least, $39.38 for a ticket on average. This is followed by the cheapest popular genre, EDM, with $55.05, then alt rock with $63.54. On the other end of the spectrum, you got classic rock (what a contrast between the alt and classic rock music) - tickets to such events have been the priciest lately, $119.14 a pop. Second is the pop genre, with $100.65 for a seat on average, then Latin music, with $91.38.

And here’s an interesting tidbit of information for you at the end: the most expensive concert ticket ever sold went for a whopping $168,000. It was (evidently) an exclusive VIP ticket for the English rock band (classic rock again…) Led Zeppelin’s live show at the O2 Arena in London, United Kingdom in December 2007. At least you can rest assured knowing that it will take quite a while for the average concert ticket to catch up with that price...

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