Kirsten Rawlins: It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I like it)
Kirsten Rawlins fills in for Peter Rhodes.
“We always used to start our tours in Wolverhampton. It was £1 on the door and and you’d get a free can of coke and a burger. Now it costs an absolute fortune.”
This is a quote from Midland music mogul Pete Waterman, talking of the days he would tour with pop sensations Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan in the late 80s.
Fast forward to 2018, however, and Kylie fans are looking at paying between £57.70 and £170.70 to see her upcoming show in Birmingham.
And though she’s world-renowned, the Aussie icon last had a number one hit in the UK 15 years ago. She’s not even been in the top 10 since 2011.
The pint-sized pop princess is not alone either; concertgoers can expect to pay anything between £30 and £150 for tickets to a show – and we’re not talking about A-listers’ gigs.
Fancy going to see The Streets at the O2 Academy in January? £48.35 per ticket. Jeff Lynne’s ELO at Arena Birmingham in October? You’ll pay between £57.40 and £130.85. Arctic Monkeys at Arena Birmingham in September? Standing tickets alone are being sold for £66.25.
And this is from the official venue sites too; never mind re-selling sites and ticket touts.
But equally, the difference between going to see a show in 2018, compared to even 2000, is vast - and when fans expect increasingly high production concerts, higher costs will always be incurred.
The online music industry has a lot to answer for too. Streaming services such as Deezer and Spotify, as well as online viewing platforms such as YouTube, mean artists simply aren’t getting the same income from sales like they once did.
The closure of so many HMV stores over the last decade is a clear indication of how the record industry has suffered.
Musicians need to make a living one way or another – and when one form of income is lost, it must be made up in other areas, such as concert prices and merchandise sales.
Yet there are artists which do manage to keep prices low.
When boy band The Vamps played The Genting Arena at the start of May, their tickets started at just £15.03. How is it some can manage to keep prices affordable and others can’t?
Is it down to the management, the label, or the acts themselves?
And if music fans are willing to pay such high prices – and they clearly are – why would the ticket prices be lowered?
Equally, if concertgoers aren’t happy to pay the amounts that are being asked, why not vote with their feet and instead go support a local band or a tribute act at a smaller venue.
In the words of The Rolling Stones - who incidentally play Coventry’s Ricoh Arena on June 2, with the top priced tickets costing a whopping £249.95 – It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll. But I like it...
*Peter Rhodes is away