Limiting ticket prices is an affordable position at concerts that we all need right now.


Labour may finally be doing well in the polls — simply because they have been largely silent for a week — but I firmly believe they will be 50 points ahead with Paul Heaton as their leader. The guy who dug in to support the Q Magazine staff when it closed and put money behind the bar at 60 random pubs across the country for his birthday has now announced that he and Jackie Abbott are capping the price of tickets for their upcoming arena tour. 30 pounds each. This is approximately — as online commentators note – one tenth of the maximum ticket price for a Depeche Mode concert in June 2023 at Twickenham Stadium.

It is worth remembering that the stadium shows and the film crew, staging, security, etc., necessary for their organization, are much more expensive than ready-made concert venues. In addition, Paul Heaton and Jackie Abbott’s concerts are not famous for their megalopolis-sized sets, flying drum kits and flame—throwing guitars, as well as recreating their faces in synchronized drone displays for encores – so perhaps this is not the most honest comparison. But let’s also remember that £30 is a good ten less than you would pay to watch Ian Brown, without a band, gargle to a soundtrack last month, more flattering than Britain’s economic prospects.

“It’s very important that in the coming months and maybe years we tell the fans that we are being paid enough and we want them to be low for you,” Heaton told BBC Breakfast last week. “I am categorically against greed in the industry, because it seems to me that there is quite a lot of it. We’re trying to just fight and talk: “Listen, we’ll do it as low as possible and give a little example.”

And rock musician Martin Lewis is not alone. Heaton praised Tom Grennan’s efforts to keep ticket prices for his 2023 tour as low as possible, rejecting “all VIP and platinum ticket options as it’s just nonsense [sic] in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis.” In connection with the aforementioned crisis and Liz Truss’s debt dambuster in the form of a mini-budget seeking to destroy the disposable income of music lovers faster than the home sale network collapses, other acts are taking alternative actions.

Rina Sawayama has announced that she is partnering with the Trussell Trust charity food bank for her upcoming tour, while The Big Moon recently lowered the prices of their wares by selling them in a pub near the venue, so the house – O2 Forum Kentish Town in particular – did not cut.

Artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Greta Van Fleet and Foo Fighters resort to various verification methods to prevent speculators from selling tickets on secondary sites, while Billy Joel and, uh, Kid Rock do not sell tickets to the first two rows of their salons. shows in an attempt to resist advertisers. Instead of playing in front of a front row full of bored old rich guys and their enthusiastic girlfriends with trophies, Joel sends his team to lead people out of the back of the room to the front row instead. Instant euphoria.

You really should welcome acts that are willing to take such a position. The cost of living and the rapid rise in inflation are also affecting musicians: the cost of touring has increased by 40%, and the reduction in VAT on hotel services, which kept the sector afloat after COVID, has now completely changed. As for the bureaucratic red tape of Brexit, problems with visas and cabotage, a sharp rise in fuel prices and uncertainty among concert-goers, tours that were once unprofitable now threaten to become a sledgehammer for a career. They also have the malicious machinations of the ticket sales industry itself to contend with, with its robberies with “dynamic pricing” raising prices for more in-demand shows, and secretly pumping tickets directly to their own secondary sites. This is the real “greed of the industry” that Heaton was talking about — it is embedded in the system as deeply as the Alexa Alert The CIA setting.

However, the best artists understand that the relationship they have built with their fans is sacred and fragile and should be based not so much on exploitation as on understanding. Realizing that their fans are people with difficulties who come to them to forget about their problems for 90 minutes, and not alcoholic wallets with glowing bulbs on their phones.

Heaton’s position that “we get paid enough” is a key point in this difficult moment for everyone. Getting a comfortable salary from a huge tour—instead of a pound—sized bonus—so that ticket prices remain affordable is just a decent thing to do in such turbulent times, and it will help keep your audience grateful and enthusiastic, not bitter and entitled. Let’s follow Heaton’s example and make every show a happy hour.


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