If Music Be the Food Of Love Play On…
Concert Tickets Stub My Bank Balance
For those of you who don’t know, I am a music lover, some might say that I am even a prolific concert goer (Yes I asked the team and they verified this!) You already know that I am a book dragon (it’s not like I keep it a secret) and quite often the television in my living room does not get switched on if I am in the house on my own or it is just me and my wonderful dog.
I often have music on in the background whilst I potter around and one of my favourite gadgets (as a rule I am not a techy person) is my Bose Soundlink Mini II. I just pop a Spotify playlist on and get on with my day. (I find Spotify to be a great way to discover music that you may not come across otherwise) At work, we listen to people’s phones and there is always ambient sound.
- I discovered a new track that I find really calms me down. I love music full stop. I’m not ignorant enough to isolate my tastes to one genre. I already liked Kygo, but this song featuring Sasha Sloan ‘This Town’ was a happy discovery.
- Jay-Z is touring…with Beyonce! I have had tickets to see Jay-Z multiple times and I’ve never been able to go so I am very excited about this, but I am conflicted about concert tickets and how the sale of and purchasing process has changed so much.
Per year, I attend roughly 20 concerts. This does not include pub gigs. I am referring to live music venues, arenas and stadium tours. I dread to think how much money I spend on tickets and have done over the years, but it is my luxury and the amount I attend is due to reduce SIGNIFICANTLY. Not because I don’t want to go, but because of the cost involved. The average ticket price now is between £50-£65. That price is before administration charges, card payment charges and any other rubbish venues might decide to add on top.
I understand that musicians deserve to earn a wage for their hard work and that productions need to be paid for. It’s not like albums are cheap, is it? But with social media and the rise of music streaming sales are not as they were. I understand, I really do. I mind, however, when loyal fans are taken advantage of, almost exploited to compensate for the deficit by record labels, venues, artists and anyone else who wants to throw their hat in the ring. The fan just wants to appreciate the artist performing live, to hear the music brought to like, to make memories and have a good time. But on top of the ticket costs, the fan also has to consider travelling charges, time off work and eventually the cost just becomes untenable.
That’s before you have ticket resale prices or artists like Justin Timberlake who charge £99 just for the ticket with all the additional charges on top. I am sure the gig will be amazing but it is difficult to justify (see what I did there?!) the price. Of course, this does mean that it will only be hardcore fans in attendance.
I am dreading finding out the price of the Jay-Z/Beyonce tickets because I know I will struggle to afford them, justify buying them and it will be a disappointment. An activity that used to be a group of friends/family going together is not as straightforward as it once was:
- Ideally, you need to have a pre-sale code to even be in with a chance of buying tickets.
- For certain venues, you need to have a code from your mobile phone service provider or you will not have the chance to purchase tickets at all.
- The price is too expensive for a whole family to justify.
- It is rare to be able to buy more than 2-4 tickets at a time…because of touts and no one really wants to be separated…great until you have a mix of generations who may have different needs.
- The buyer needs to have a comfortable purse or a card with enough funds available for the tickets that you only discover the price of at that time.
- They cannot be a gift unless the purchaser is also present and can provide ID and proof of purchase (dependent on the venue and again, thanks to touts.)
- O2 venues take your ticket from you (scandalous if you collect them as keepsakes) and replace them with a generic, plastic wristband. Who does this help? Oceans? No. Buyer? No. Venue. Yes but it causes a lot of displeasure.
Certainly, I appreciate that all the while fans find the money the problem will persist and that it is relevant to theatre and comedy too. I just hope that something changes shortly. There is nothing quite like the magic of watching a band you love perform to you (and hundreds/thousands of other people) and feel like they are singing at you. The collective voice of fans creates almost like a frenzy and everyone is there for a mutual reason – to have fun and to be close to people they admire for their talents and skills…some happen to be quite pleasing on the eye too! The memories concerts, shows and other live events illicit are talking points and can flash you right back years later. They are a snapshot in time that you share with people who will not be in your life forever. Some artists will disappoint you and you’ll wish you stuck to the album, but the majority will knock your socks off! Some venues are better than others and I would recommend, that if you are hoping to see one of your absolute favourites, then try to see them in a smaller venue. The concert will be more intimate and the experience will be so much better. It would still be great in a larger venue, but the majority of my favourite gigs historically, have been in smaller venues.
Some will even bring a tear to your eye when you finally get to see them live. I promise. Some may be so good that you’ll do everything in your power to see them time and again. and others will go on to a wish list of people you’d love to see but may never get the chance to.
So… will I be trying to get tickets to see Jay Z and Beyonce? Anyone who has seen me lip sync to “Encore” and “Izzo” will know the answer already. Of course, I will try! I am my own worst enemy but my goodness, I have some great memories and am looking forward to making more!