The Hustle

In the past decade, the average price for a concert ticket increased 55%. What gives?

In the past decade, the average price for a concert ticket increased 55%.


December 30, 2019

If you were shocked to see your Ed Sheeran ticket cost $160, don’t worry. You weren’t imagining it — concerts really are getting more expensive. The question is: Why?

Mostly, concert ticket prices increased because the entire business model behind popular musical artists has shifted away from album sales and toward concert ticket sales.

Musicians now make more revenue from concerts than albums

In the ’80s and ’90s, concert ticket sales accounted for 30% of musician earnings — today, they account for 75%, according to the Wall Street Journal

So promoters and musicians alike have made moves to maximize revenue from concerts — even if it means pricing out some fans.

Pricier tickets have succeeded in raising revenues (for the artists who can pull it off). In the past decade, the average gross per concert more than doubled to an average of $958k.

And concerts will continue to be moneymakers for major musicians

Some performers have already shifted their focus to near-constant touring.  Here are the highest grossing tours of the decade (inflation adjusted):

  1. Ed Sheeran (2017-19). Gross: $737m.
  2. Guns N’ Roses (2016-19). Gross: $563m
  3. Coldplay (2016-17). Gross: $546m
  4. AC/DC (2008-10). Gross: $507m
  5. Roger Waters (2010-13). Gross: $493m
  6. The Rolling Stones (2017-19). Gross: $416m
  7. Metallica (2016-Ongoing). Gross: $414m
  8. Pink (2018-19). Gross: $397m
  9. Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band (2012-13). Gross: $382m
  10. Bruno Mars (2017-18). Gross: $376m

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