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US live sector recovering through ticket price hikes

By | Published on Friday 8 July 2011


Talking of the struggling American live sector, it seems it might not be struggling so much any more. After a difficult 2010 for the upper end of the US live music industry, the sector’s trade magazine Pollstar is reporting that the country’s top 50 tours have brought in 11% more revenue in that first half of 2011 than the equivalent tours did in 2010.

Interestingly the rise in revenue comes despite a 2.1% drop in ticket sales, meaning the cash boost is coming from increased ticket prices. Which is interesting because some wondered whether the revenue decline in 2010 was partly due to overpriced tickets, and whether it would therefore result in a drop in ticket prices across the board.

Admitting that the fact ticket prices were up, and that people seemed to be paying the higher prices, was a bit of a surprise, Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni says: “It’s possible that much of this is driven by artists playing smaller venues at higher prices or better artist packaging, which increases show costs but offers fans a better value for their ticket dollar”.

Of course, comparing live revenues year on year is always slightly skewed by the fact a small group of artist can get away with charging particularly high ticket prices, and those artists don’t tour every year.