Sunday, September 16, 2012

Even The Boss Has Trouble Selling Tix

Bruce Springsteen image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
In what may be indicative of the new realities of the music business, it looks like there's some consumer push-back to high concert ticket prices once again. If you remember, this is a trend that began during the recession/depression days of 2008, but last year saw a bit less consumer resistance to the high ticket prices that have become the norm.

A great indicator of this is the fact that even Bruce Springsteen, The Boss himself, has had to discount tickets in order to get a sellout in his own back yard of New Jersey at MetLife Stadium. Bruce's promoter decided to use LivingSocial, a competitor to Groupon, to provide a special $59 ticket to its members (prices were $82). Despite the 28% discount, the offer only drew 65 buyers by the end of the first day.

Bruce isn't the only big act that's having ticket problems though. LivingSocial has also done deals with the Black Eyed Peas and the joint dates by Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, and many other acts like Madonna and even Eric Clapton are struggling to sell out.

But if there's one artist who isn't, it's former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters, who's "The Wall" tour has grossed over $160 million so far, which is about double of his closest competitor, who happens to be Springsteen.

So what does this mean? First of all, the economy isn't great and it's a real struggle to pay for a concert. With the average ticket going for around 60 bucks, it can easily double after the "convenience charges," parking, and beverages are added. What would you do if given the choice of putting gas in your car to go to work or buying a concert ticket?

The next thing is overexposure. Most acts make all of their money on the road, so if they want the revenue to continue, they better keep working. The problem is that you just can't come back to the same venue year after year and expect the same turnout, especially at those prices.

The recorded music side of the music business has undergone a paradigm shift that it still can't get its arms around. I predict that the next sector to see such a major change will be the concert business.

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