Industry News

Concert ticket prices doubled since 1990s

Ticket prices for concerts have doubled since the late 1990s, according to data from the National Arenas Association, which tracks prices across 21 venues.

When inflation is taken into account, the numbers show that ticket prices have risen 27 per cent, BBC 5 live’s Wake Up to Money report highlights.

Face value primary tickets reportedly rose at a much faster rate than inflation between 1999 and 2016.

In 1999, the average ticket cost £22.58 (£37.20 at today’s prices) and rose to £45.49 in 2016, (£47.14 today) the most recent year with available data.

In addition, the figures support anecdotal evidence gathered by the programme of sharp price rises for the biggest shows.

In 1998 it cost £23.50 to see the Spice Girls at Wembley Stadium (about £39 in today’s money). Meanwhile, Taylor Swift playing the same venue in June, will cost fans between £55 and £120.

According to the BBC, the live music industry claims the big tours have become far more ambitious, and cost far more to stage as a result.

John Corr’s company, Sound Moves, handles logistics for some of the world’s biggest tours, working with acts including Madonna, the Rolling Stones and Beyonce.

He told the BBC: “People complain about the cost of the tickets… but when they understand the scale of what goes on in the background they begin to get an understanding of why we’ve got to the cost we have.

“People’s expectations keep rising – do they want a musical performance or do they want a show?

“With Beyonce, when the Formation tour was announced, demand was huge and they extended it in the US.

“What had been a predominantly ocean [freight] solution to get it to the start of the European tour in Sunderland needed to have increased air freight… We flew five 747s, which was the core show, into Prestwick and two 747s of stage components into Doncaster.”

The BBC added that live music has also become a more important source of revenue for artists, with the rise of downloads and streaming.

Those sources garner less cash than physical formats and together accounted for 62 per cent of all expenditure last year, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association.

Image: Martin Fisch