At the risk of sounding super old, back in my teenage years, I remember being able to attend pop shows for around £20. Not anymore!
These days, gigs are becoming so expensive that I can’t remember the last time I saw a pop gig on sale for much less than £40. In fact, if I do happen to get to the payment screen and see that it’s going to cost under £50 I think “wow, what a bargain!”
When artists I love announce a tour I am filled with equal amounts of joy and dread, wincing at the mere thought of how much of a hammering my bank account is going to receive in exchange for those 90 minutes of fun. Before you’ve even bought the tickets, money starts sucking the fun out of the whole experience. Let’s not get started on the price you’ll have to fork out (no pun intended) for food and drink once you get there.
I am not going to pretend I know the ins and outs of the pricing system and where exactly the money goes, but from a pop fan perspective it has started to take the magic away from why going to see live music is so great. It feels more like a way to make an insane profit instead of being about how much the fans will enjoy the show. For example, when Harry Styles played two dates at London’s Hammersmith Apollo last month tickets were almost £70. That sort of price for a venue that size is totally outrageous, but promoters and managers know that fans will pay because fans will justify almost anything if it means seeing their favourite artist on stage. Gigs are one of the most special experiences on earth and people shouldn’t have to miss out because the prices are too high. The industry complains about touts flogging tickets at inflated prices but it’s not like they’re a bargain at face value.
Having said that, there are venues around the country who pride themselves on their affordable ticket prices. Sure, they’re vastly smaller and the acts may not always be household names (yet), but the point still stands. The Joiners in Southampton and The Forum in Tunbridge Wells are just two examples of venues who still offer reasonable prices. As music fans, we need to remember to support them too.
There will be no black friday deals tomorrow as the price of our gig tickets haven't changed in about 20 years, think about that for a second…
— The Joiners (@joinerslive) 23 November 2017
The thing which really tipped me over the edge most recently was finding out how much Taylor Swift is charging for her 2018 Reputation Tour. The cheapest tickets are priced at just under £70, which doesn’t sound too awful until you realise those seats are at the very top and at the back, where you’ll be lucky to see anything but a few dots moving around about three miles below you. If you actually want to see Taylor, y’know, with your own eyes, you’ll have to fork out over £100. That’s right, over £100 for the privilege of actually being able to see what’s going on. Fantastic.
Taylor insists she only wants real fans to get tickets to these shows but no matter how you look at it, the prices make her seem so out of touch with what normal people can afford, whether she has a say on the prices or not. Do her and her team really think most people have a spare £100 three weeks before Christmas? The mind boggles.
If you were hoping at the end of this I’d have a solution to the problem, unfortunately I don’t. I just hope something changes soon before music fans are priced out of enjoying live music altogether. Seeing as pop music is the most accessible genre for everyone, don’t you think the gig prices should be too?