The concert industry hasn't been immune to the problems facing the music business during the recession, and like struggling CD sales, ticket purchases were down double-digit percentages in 2010. Many of this year's top tours, from Rihanna to the Jonas Brothers, saw select dates canceled due to poor sales, and a few big artists -- like U2 and Christina Aguilera -- postponed their road trips, denying concert promoters and venues some much needed cash. Looking ahead to 2011, touring giants like Live Nation Ticketmaster think they have a way to boost revenue: lower ticket prices.
This isn't the first time the concert industry has tried luring music lovers with cheap tickets. Throughout 2010, they've experimented with 2-for-1 deals and all-inclusive prices that finally eradicated those much-maligned hidden service fees that infuriated fans for years. Still, it didn't help much, as the AP reports ticket sales were down between 12 and 16 percent in 2010 compared to 2009. Whether it was surging gas prices, the glut of music festivals to choose from or the fact that the past year's live bills didn't boast the marquee names of years' past, music fans deemed concerts a luxury they could do without. (Bon Jovi fans, however, continued to see the band's shows in droves: They were named Billboard's top touring act for the second time in three years.)
As a result, ticket prices will be pushed even lower, with the touring giants hoping that the cheaper prices will at least get fans back into the arenas and amphitheaters, where promoters can make up for lost ticket money in merchandise and beer sales (Live Nation Ticketmaster own many of their venues, so they make money whenever you buy nachos). ZZ Top, for example, will offer tickets for as low as $10 with the hope of boosting attendance.
Fans won't see guaranteed sell-outs like Lady Gaga or Roger Waters slashing prices, but a lot of today's pop stars and the classic rock vagabonds that hit the road every summer will. Now if only the major labels lowered the price on CDs, the music industry might finally find their way out of this mess.
[Photo: Craig Lassig/Associated Press]
- Christina Aguilera