Tuesday, June 8, 2010

80% Of Concerts Don't Sell Out

While the income from record sales has always been OK for top-selling artists, the real money has always been made on the road. In fact, most music industry insiders generally acknowledge that between 90 to 95% of an artist's income has been generated on the road. That's why the revelation that 80% of the shows the concert promoter Live Nation puts on don't sell out. What's more, 40% of all tickets are now going unsold!

There are a number of reasons for the recent dive in concert attendance:

1) The high ticket prices - Some say it's because of the high guarantees demanded by greedy artists while others blame it on the promoter and others blame the secondary ticket market (the legal scalpers), but whatever the reason, concert tickets are way too high. Once upon a time consumers would go to a couple of shows a month or more, but with prices for even the cheap seats now in the stratosphere, not many can afford it. In fact, most concert-goers now attend only a couple a year at most and reserve those times for special occasions.

2) It's the service charges - Everybody hates the extra charges, especially when they add up to abut 1/3rd the face value of the ticket. Let's face it, any industry that charges a "convenience fee" because you printed your own ticket at home deserves to die, or at least have the offending company die a painful death. Add in a hefty parking fee and some overpriced beverages and you've just spent the month's rent on 2 1/2 hours of temporary happiness (at least you better hope so).

3) It's the economy - Regardless of the ticket prices, if you don't have a job or are just getting by, there are a lot of other things to spend your money on rather than concert tickets.

4) Over-saturated artists - How many classic artists are doing a "final tour" for more than a second time? How many major artists have visited the same territories in the last year. The thrill is gone if you've seen the show more than once, especially if it's been recently. We've heard of major artists giving 2 for 1 or $10 and $15 per ticket deals recently, a trend that threatens to continue (good for the consumer, as long as he holds out until just before the show).

Once again this year, LiveNation is repeating its "no service fee June" by eliminating all service fees, but that's not going to solve the problem. Until we get some reasonable pricing back in the business, it will continue to suffer.

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1 comment:

AW said...


Love your stuff and your book Music 3.0! I learned a lot from it. Thanks!

I think that while there may be some greedy artists, you also need to add the cost of all that double and triple union labor at the venues the artists play. An electrician to plug in my guitar into my amp on stage? Oh, how did I ever do it myself in rehearsal?


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