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The rapid rise in concert prices

Concert prices are becoming more expensive, so consumers may want to turn to smaller venues and artists.
Image by Ava Weinreis
The average ticket price has gone up over $17 in the past decade.

The average concert ticket price in 2019 was $96.17, a $17.84 increase from the average price in 2011, according to a study conducted by Pollstar and posted on Statista. The number seems relatively reasonable after seeing the prices for Beyonce and Taylor Swift tickets this past year.

While concert prices are constantly increasing, it does not prevent some people from seeing who they want to see. They have learned to prioritize who they want to see or adjust how much they are willing to pay.

Jaden Watkins, a third-year University of Minnesota student, said her most expensive concert was seeing BTS in Chicago. Watkins saw the K-pop group perform at Soldier Field.

The ticket price was $1,000 for seats that were pretty far back, Watkins said. For Watkins, the experience itself was worth the price, but the seats were not.

First-year University student Joseph Brunholzl saw Taylor Swift for $400 at U.S. Bank Stadium. His seats were located in the first section above the floor, also known as the lower bowl. While at first hesitant about paying that much for a ticket, he believes the price was worth the experience.

Brunholzl has been to nine concerts and has found that the artists he wants to see often have reasonable prices. However, he has run into trouble when it comes to buying resale tickets.

When Laufey performed at the Varsity Theater in October of this year, the tickets for her show sold out faster than Brunholzl expected, so he searched for resale tickets. The cheapest one he could find was $150. The original price of the ticket was $30.

Both Watkins and Brunholzl agreed they do not see ticket prices going down anytime soon for artists big or small.

“With bigger artists, the bigger problem is overpricing of tickets, but like when it comes to liking a lot of the smaller artists, the bigger problem is definitely ticket [resellers],” Brunholzl said.

This doesn’t leave music performances completely inaccessible to many fans, though. There are other ways to see artists perform without paying large sums of money.

Watkins was able to get floor seats to see A Boogie Wit da Hoodie at The Armory for $80. Brunholzl was able to see Between Friends at First Avenue: 7th Street Entry for $25. Both venues are on the smaller side and their prices are usually cheaper.

Tanner Montague is the current owner and operator of Green Room, an independent music venue, restaurant and bar in Minneapolis. Montague said that historically, Green Room’s highest ticket price was $38. Aside from the free shows they offer, their cheapest shows have been around $5.

These prices are possible because Montague speaks with the artists to understand what they need to be able to perform. The $38 concert was for an international artist, and they needed to cover expenses for the artist’s flight and hotel fees.

“There’s never a one-size-fits-all kind of ticket thing for any venue or any artists. It’s always fluctuating,” Montague said.

So while concert prices may continue to increase, smaller and more local venues are typically able to provide concertgoers with affordable prices and proper experiences.

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  • Todd Glasenapp
    Nov 24, 2023 at 12:19 pm

    Just curious how a third-year college student can afford a $1,000 concert ticket AND rising tuition. Supportive parents or working 3 jobs?