For artists at the top tier of the industry, it's a good time to be touring, with concerts in the first half of 2018 bringing in a record amount of money. Unfortunately, this extra load of cash doesn't appear to be result of more tickets selling.
Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0
If you’re an A-list artist then times are very good for you. According the recent Pollstar mid-year report, the top 50 best selling tours in the first half of 2018 generated a record amount of cash. Those tours brought in $2.21 billion in sales revenue, which is up 12% over last year at the same time. The problem is that the increase isn’t necessarily a result of more tickets sold.
According to the same report, the increase came from increased ticket prices, with the average price for a ticket now at $96.31. This is a 14% increase over last year, meaning that the number of tickets sold actually went down from last year from 22.8 million in 2017 to 19.1 million. In fact, the average number of tickets sold per event went from 9,129 in 2017 to 8,637 in 2018.
Anyone who attends concerts knows that when the ticket price reaches a certain level you think a lot harder about making the purchase. If it’s an artist that you’d like to check out but don’t really love you’ll probably pass if the ticket price is too high, especially when all the “convenience fees” are added on.
This sentiment is not lost on the concert industry, however their solution is to shift the reason for problem. According to Pollstar,”At the beginning of 2018 there was a great deal of consternation in the industry over empty seats at major tours with tickets – often nosebleeds – going unsold on the secondary market at rock bottom prices. The tours were erroneously decried as “disasters” based on those factors. However, when contacted, tour promoters pointed to record revenues from those same tours, begging the question: How could this be?
Strategic ticket pricing in 2018, which often meant a greater range and more tiers often resulted in greater revenue generated often from the more in-demand lower bowls while some of the more inexpensively priced upper seats, for which there can be less demand, were left in the hands of the secondary market or unsold.”
What that means is promoters are charging more for the best seats, but consumers are passing up the less desirable “nosebleed seats” even at a better price.
To me it looks like there will be a day of reckoning soon when concert goers will refuse to pay inflated prices even for the good seats and decide to stay home instead. We’re beginning to see the cracks in the system already, but we haven’t reached the point where the average ticket price is just too high to consider. That day is coming soon, however.