Concert promoters will adjust prices next year to bring back the fans
LOS ANGELES — Concertgoers sick of ballooning ticket prices should have some extra pocket change to rattle with their rock ‘n’ roll in the new year.
This year was tough for the concert business; high prices kept many fans at home. Promoters say they plan to make shows more affordable in 2011. They will also try to sell more T-shirts and other merchandise to make up for lost sales.
Heading into last summer, usually the busiest time of the year, prices were set too high. Managers and promoters believed fans would keep paying for the one or two concerts they see each year. Instead, many stayed home and dozens of shows were canceled. Lots of venues filled seats with fire-sale prices.
Now, rather than charge a lot early and offer discounts later, some promoters will offer cheaper tickets from the start and hope fans will spend money on beer and tchotchkes.
ZZ Top, for one, expects to set prices below the 2010 average of $55. Some tickets will go for as little as $10.
“It’s time to give the value back,’’ said Carl Stubner, manager of the long-bearded rock band from Texas. “We’ll find other ways to make money.’’
That doesn’t mean all acts will be cheap — not even Cheap Trick, whose tickets for 2011 are selling for about $80, with fees. Fans of hot performers including Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga shouldn’t expect much of a break, either.
Neil Diamond said he’d like to bring ticket prices down, but can’t because of the size of his production.
“As the shows get bigger, the expenses get bigger, so it’s got to be translated somehow to the ticket price,’’ he said.
Concert attendance fell 12 percent in the first half of 2010, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to trade magazine Pollstar. The world’s largest concert promoter, Live Nation Entertainment Inc., said attendance from July to September dropped 16 percent from a year before, even after it slashed fees and prices for many acts.
North American concert ticket prices rose from an average $26 in 1996 to a peak of $67 in 2008.
That doesn’t include ticket fees for everything from “order processing’’ to “convenience,’’ which can add $10 or more.