How much money would you pay to see your favorite band live? Sure, there are a ton of variables involved here (venue, seat location, etc.) but lets just assume that you’ve found exactly the right ticket. How much is that worth to you?
For me, it was when I saw Nine Inch Nails play at the Henry Fonda Theater (capacity 1,300) in Los Angeles. I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to see my favorite band play in such a small venue, especially because this was their (at the time) final shows. Final cost for this extremely in demand ticket? $65. Pretty incredible right? Not only was the show great, but the cost of the ticket didn’t commit premeditated murder on my wallet. Not bad. Now, Nine Inch Nails are certainly a household name, but they are fairly genre specific. Definitely not a universally revered group. But what if you are a legend of modern music? More specifically, what if you are the Rolling Stones? How much is your concert worth?
A few weeks back when the Stones announced the upcoming dates for their 50th Anniversary tour, I was pumped up. The Stones have always been a favorite of mine and I wanted to see them. I knew that tickets would be pretty expensive, but that’s cool. I figured I could shell out a bit to see em finally. Then, a few days later, the band started to announce their “value” tickets (1,000 tickets per show at $85.00 a piece) would be released, without a seating location. So, you buy a ticket for $85 bucks (not including all the egregious Ticketmaster fees) and you don’t even get to know where you sit until you show up at the venue??? I decided to do a quick search for regularly priced tickets and discovered that they were going anywhere from $150 to well over $1,000!!! Fucking ridiculous!!!
The sad reality is that the swindling of music fans when it comes to live music is reaching outrageously disproportionate levels. It’s not just the Rolling Stones raking in the cash, sadly, it’s fairly standard practice these days. Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake’s joint tour this summer sees ticket prices anywhere from $60 for nosebleed, to nearly $300 for field level seating. Prince’s upcoming club tour is charging $250 a ticket! Although, that’s a little more understandable because the shows are in clubs, but it’s still insane.
Now the question becomes, where does the blame lay for these prices? Is it the artists and management being greedy? Is it Ticketmaster (and other agencies)? Is it the promoters? Maybe it’s a combination of all of these things rolled up in to one. One thing is for sure, it’s getting harder and harder to justify the cost of seeing live music these days. Especially for bands with any type of commercial success.
But like any other tale, there are the protagonists. A knight in shining armor so to speak. Strangely enough, the hero this summer is none other than…..Kid Rock. In an interview with Piers Morgan last week, Rock was asked about concert prices for the Jay-Z/Timberlake jaunt. His reply:
“It’s garbage, It’s highway robbery. I don’t care who you are. I would consider both of them in the circle of friends in the business, but I don’t agree with it. It’s gotten out of hand, the price of concerts, the price of entertainment period. Whether it’s a sporting event, going to the movies, buy a soda there, whatever…I’ve always tried to keep prices [to] what I think are fair. And I’ve always said I’m proud that I can walk around with my head held high and look someone in the eye knowing that I haven’t taken an unhonest dollar from a working man.”
More to the point, Kid Rock is keeping prices to his concert low this summer, as low as $20 for a ticket. When he found out that Ticketmaster was charging a service fee for tickets, he struck a deal with Wal-Mart to keep tickets at an even 20 bucks. At least he’s playing to his demographic. As a result, Kid Rock will loose out on roughly 50-100k in profits.
I’ve never been a Kid Rock fan. I suppose there are some songs that I enjoy, but I wouldn’t call myself a fan. But there are a ton of people out there that do love him. Over the course of his career, he’s sold nearly 25 million albums. Sure, he’s not on the same level as Jay-Z or the Rolling Stones, but at least he’s actively making sure his fans don’t get a raw deal, which is more than can be said for most artists these days.
I won’t be going to any of the Rolling Stones shows this summer. Nor will I be attending Prince or Jay-Z. I genuinely like all three artists, but I refuse to shell out that kind of money for a show, regardless of who’s to blame. Instead, I think I’ll go to a Kid Rock show. I won’t have any idea what songs are being played, but at least I’ll be able to cop a good buzz and know my money is going to a man who actually cares about his fans. Honesty and integrity is hard to find in music these days, but Kid Rock hit the ball out of the park with this one. If all artists focused on their fans financial restrictions instead of their own warped sense of importance, the world (at least in amphitheaters across the country) would be a better place.
What do you think about ticket prices? How much would you pay to see your favorite artist? Why? Let me know in the comments section below or connect with Gutter Bubbles on Twitter and Facebook!