No More Cheap Seats: A Brief History of Concert Ticket Prices

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No More Cheap Seats: A Brief History of Concert Ticket Prices

Note: This chart is from Paste Quarterly #1, which you can purchase here, along with its accompanying vinyl Paste sampler.

If you’ve been grumbling that it’s become too expensive to see your favorite bands, you’re not alone. Ticket prices have spiked in the last two decades from a 1985 average of $15.13 to a whopping $74.25 in 2015. Artists have almost always made more from live shows than music sales, but the digital age has made them more reliant than ever on tour revenues. Pink Floyd could get by with a meager $27.6 million from their 1988 tour, sure—but ask Taylor Swift to settle for that now? No, in 2015, she almost hit the $200 million mark. In the graph below, ticket price averages are weighted to celebrity artists, so your favorite local band is probably still struggling. But don’t take it so hard. The next time you fork over the big bucks for a star act, just think of the penthouse your hometown heroes might one day enjoy.

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