Concert ticket prices skyrocket beyond reason

April 23, 2016 — by Caitlin Ju

Junior reacts to quickly increasing concert ticket prices.

My first reaction to Beyoncé’s Feb. 7 announcement of her Formation World Tour was to try to grab tickets for her May 16 concert at Levi’s Stadium. Having bought the tickets the first day they were available exclusively to American Express members, I was stunned the price was still $250 per ticket for the second main ring.

If you want to have a ticket in the row closest to Queen Bey, it will cost you almost $1,000, and if the performance sells out quickly, resale tickets only add to the cost. According to marketplace, the average summer 2015 concert ticket costs almost $200.

Many students who have gone to concerts in popular locations, such as Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View and Graham Civic Center in San Francisco, have seen concert ticket prices skyrocket in the past few years.

The exorbitant increase in concert ticket prices is partly because of the growing popularity of live streaming services like Spotify and Tidal. In response, businesses have taken over artists’ choices by controlling ticket prices and raising them to the point that true fans are now unable to enjoy the artists’ music. Therefore, artists should make a more active effort to stabilize concert ticket prices.

Since concerts are the major income source for many musicians, singers like Beyoncé, Adele and Taylor Swift are doing the wrong thing by keeping their recent albums off streaming services to increase ticket sales for their live performances. Fans who cannot afford to buy their expensive concert tickets must instead watch the limited number of music videos on YouTube, buy the songs from iTunes — both generating less income — or illegally download the songs. Other singers wait until their tours are over to release their music, a slap in the face to their fans.

The origin of the concert ticket price increase, however, is much earlier than when music streaming services peaked in popularity. According to ABC News, in 1999, artists adopted the tiered system of ticket pricing, which means higher costs for closer seats; in just that year, concert prices rose by 18 percent. This tiered system is logical, but the prices should not be as extreme as they currently are.

Large organizations like Clear Channel Communications have taken over a significant share of the concert tour market, according to Forbes, demonstrating that these concerts have become more of a business than an avenue for artists to showcase their new songs. Concerts have become too economically divided, with people willing to drop the most money sitting closest to the singers and people with the cheapest tickets sitting far away.

With the higher prices, fans are forced to be more selective when choosing concerts they wish to spend their money on. Gone are the days when concerts were opportunities for people to just explore new music or easy entertainment.

It is increasingly frustrating that it now takes months of preparation to wait to be the first to buy concert tickets that sometimes, as in the case of the many disappointed Adele fans, many exit the Ticketmaster empty-handed when entire concerts are sold out within the first few minutes. The tickets are quickly gobbled up by people wishing to resell them for higher prices.

Just having songs exclusively on live streaming services is financially unsustainable, but attending concerts should not require emptying your childhood savings bank account. What is obvious is the monetary incentive behind the rise in concert ticket prices and the evidence of a dangerous, growing reliance artists have on concerts that will only result in higher concert ticket prices.

In hopes of selling their high-priced concert tickets, artists withhold their music from streaming services until they are sure their income is secure. So when I searched for Beyoncé’s new hit “Formation” on Spotify and did not find it, I was disappointed but not surprised. Concert ticket prices have surpassed reason, and it is time artists take control and lower them. Either that or those of us who love their music should stop going.

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