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nbayer

"Plenty of good seats still available..." (Misc. ramblings on prices, scalping, and the economy of live shows)

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On 12/11/2017 at 12:31 AM, Manohlive said:

You said, in the beginning of your post, that the artist wanted the money the scalpers were getting, or something of the sort. That is exactly what a good friend who manages a box office in Milwaukee says to me.  He started in ticketing 35 years ago and watched it all happen.  He pretty much called it. "You watch; sooner or later the performers are gonna want what the scalpers get and why shouldn't they?  It's their intellectual property and talent that precipitates the revenue. Why should some opportunistic jerk on the street get it?".   I hated hearing that, but knew he was right.

I am a rabid Pearl Jam fan.  I get high off Pearl Jam too.  It is a completely different experience, as you said.  They keep the price lower and it's all about the setlist and playing it live.  There are no bells and whistles. 

I love both approaches because I love the music.  If Pearl Jam was really expensive...I'd still try to go no matter.  It's a question of how much something is worth to the person buying the ticket.  You said this too.

Always great to meet a fellow Milwaukean and Pearl Jam fan.  Did you catch the 3.5 hour Lightning Bolt show a few years back where they played all of Yield?  And sang happy birthday to Tom Petty.  Amazing show.  

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40 minutes ago, nbayer said:

Because Live Nation doesn't back the brinks truck up and dump gobs of money unless you sell out arenas and stadiums. Doing that requires that  you play your hits.

The irony there is that U2 never had trouble selling out shows even when they mixed up their sets more.  The Vertigo tour was a sell-out across the board, and that tour featured different opening songs, different closing songs, entirely different configurations of the main set and encores, etc.  We got more obscure songs we never thought we'd hear live like "The First Time," hits like "Where The Streets Have No Name" and "One," fan favorites like "The Electric Co" and "An Cat Dubh-Into The Heart" and singles that hadn't been played in ages like "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses."  This upcoming tour is the first time I can remember U2 shows not selling out almost instantly.  I don't think people started hating U2 overnight; I don't think something magically happened in the NYC area that reduced demand from the 8 completely sold out shows they played in 2015 to the 4 not-at-all-sold-out area shows they'll play in 2018.  I don't think they lost half their audience.  I think half their audience decided that they couldn't or wouldn't spend $330 per ticket (plus an additional $50 per ticket in fees) for seats in high rows in the upper level far away from the main stage.

I feel like the expectation of the crowd has changed -- not just for U2, but for all acts -- as the prices have gone up.  When tickets were priced at reasonable rates, it seemed as if the crowd was made up with a larger percentage of fans who knew more than just the radio songs.  But as prices have gone up, it seems more and more that tickets are purchased by a more affluent audience that has less of a connection to the music and is more interested in a fun night out, or showing everyone on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook where they've been that night.  And that audience, which has paid huge amounts of money for tickets, is demanding that bands play the songs that they know the best, and only those songs.  I remember before the price surging really took off in the concert industry in the early-to-mid-2000s, you could actually go to a show and hear a song you didn't know, and the audience would actually go with it.  Now, it seems the instant a band starts playing a song that the crowd doesn't know, they check out completely.  I frankly don't understand spending money to see a show, whether it's $50 or $500, and not watching the whole thing, but that's what so many people do nowadays.

I tried to get a pair of tickets to see the singer Pink for my wife and I was stunned at the prices.  Not only was she charging what U2 were asking or more for certain sections, but they monetized everything.  For example, they're charging a $20-40 premium for aisle seats.  If your seat happens to be on the aisle, it costs $40 more than the one next to it.  The Ticketmaster page helpfully described the "aisle seat offer" as the option to "Choose from the best available aisle seats and enjoy the convenience of easy access to refreshments, restrooms and venue exits."  It used to just be a cool bonus if you got an aisle seat, but now it's something you'll be charged extra for.  And look how it's being marketed.  Essentially, it's saying "Give us more money and we will make it super convenient for you to do other things besides watching the show."

The experience is just so different now than it used to be, and I can't help but think that the money has something to do with that.

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18 hours ago, vertigojds said:

tried to get a pair of tickets to see the singer Pink for my wife and I was stunned at the prices.

Not a Pink fan but for kicks I was checking out various artist’s prices... yes I was shocked at the price for Pink tickets, I checked Taylor Swift as well, her prices for her GA sections were close to $900, with that you got some box that had “stuff” but really, come on !  Pink close to $700 for lower side seats, I think the days of live concerts with a decent seat for me are over. 

These prices make U2 tickets seem affordable. However I have to sit and laugh and then wonder.... WTF , come on .. really ?? 

Feeling grateful I can catch them in Philly without going into crazy debt. 

These prices are fucked ....

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Great post. I would love to see scalpers taken out but this is not effective. I as well as many fans (who can afford the tickets) are priced out not only because it's a ridiculous price to pay $330 plus fees for upper seats.. but also because U2 has just completed their second tour in a couple years!!  I am lucky to say I saw them in May 2016 Innocence for two shows, September 2016 for their Dreamfest fundraiser in SF, and May 2017 for the Joshua Tree.  While I would certainly be interested to see my favorite band for their next tour.. no way in HELL am I shelling out those $$$$!   I have no urgency to see them play these 'soft' songs live.  I suppose I'll look to see if the tickets appear on Goldstar (pretty embarassing for the band).   Meantime, I'll just happily watch some of their live DVD performances with riveting guitar drum and bass, until they at some point announce a final tour.

Edited by ltrain442

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Don't forget kids.... Plenty of great seats available vis Ticketmaster "Platinum Seats" Option....... A true bargain at any cost

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