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Music Downloads = Expensive Concerts?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the shaft-the-listener dept.


melonman writes "According to an article at BBC News, $250 tickets for the latest Madonna tour are the fault of P2P file sharing. 'Before the advent of illegal downloads, artists had an incentive to underprice their concerts, because bigger audiences translated into higher record sales, Professor Krueger argues. But now, he says, the link between the two products has been severed, meaning that artists and their managers need to make more money from concerts and feel less constrained in setting ticket prices.' And it seems David Bowie agrees. Is 'the fans always get fleeced' the rock industry's equivalent to Moore's Law?"

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If Madonna prices it, they will buy... (5, Insightful)

byteCoder (205266) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172747)

It's simple supply and demand and the desire to maximize revenues and profits.

If you were Madonna and her management, would you rather sell:

10,000 tickets at $250 each, totalling $2,500,000

or sell:

20,000 tickets at $100 each, totalling $1,000,000 ?

In Madonna's case, she'll likely sell out at the hire price anyway and pocket $5,000,000.

Re:If Madonna prices it, they will buy... (1)

byteCoder (205266) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172775)

sorry for the typos: that's 20,000 tickets at $100 each totalling $2,000,000...

and it's "higher" price, of course... need my morning coffee... :-)

Re:If Madonna prices it, they will buy... (1, Funny)

tont0r (868535) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172817)

I wish i could fix my typo and score a 5

Re:If Madonna prices it, they will buy... (5, Funny)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172959)

I wish i could fix my typo and score a 5

Well, if that 5 is a typo and you meant to type a 1, then congratulations, you've succeeded.

Re:If Madonna prices it, they will buy... (5, Insightful)

Mattcelt (454751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172984)

P2P is a bullshit justification. P2P doesn't cause higher ticket prices, market economics does. They'll slap any price on them they can get.

I remember some people complaining about the ticket prices for the Eagles "Hell Freezes Over" tour - which for golden circle were at least as high as these madonna ones (some went in excess of $750 for some shows, IIRC).

That was in 1994.

Concertgoers have been getting fleeced by some (though not all!) big-name acts for a lot longer than P2P has been around.

Re:If Madonna prices it, they will buy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172786)

"the hire price"? now there's a typo you don't see every day..

Re:If Madonna prices it, they will buy... (1)

phpWebber (693379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172814)

Guessing you mean 10,000 tickets :)
I agree. I am not trying to be harsh, but does Madonna still sell out shows? Has the setting in her venues decreased? All of you huge Slashdot/Madonna fans, speak up.

Re:If Madonna prices it, they will buy... (2, Informative)

coffeechica (948145) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172890)

Not exactly a Madonna fan, but she sells out. Of course, she also doesn't do a lot of shows (4 or so in Germany on the new tour), so the demand is high enough to warrant insane ticket prices. I think her German shows sold out within half an hour or thereabouts. If she and her management want to earn more money, it would simply be a matter of increasing the amount of concerts.

Re:If Madonna prices it, they will buy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172923)

<crickets> *chirp*......*chirp*......*chirp* </crickets>

Math... (1)

Nuklearwanze (693728) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172847)

20.000 tickets at $100 each = 2 Mio. (not 1).

however, somebody like madonna will ALLWAYS play at concerts that are sold out - the demand (10s of thousands of people wanting a ticket) is obviously much higher than the supply (one concert in any given area). so.... your point is valid - your math is not :)

Re:If Madonna prices it, they will buy... (0, Redundant)

SoVeryTired (967875) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172879)

20,000 tickets at $100 each, totalling $1,000,000

I think you'll find that's $2,000,000

More money for less cost is always best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172888)

I'd rather have a smaller packed house who payed more than a larger venue who payed less. Smaller venues cost less money to put on show, more profit gets kept. It's simple business.

I'm a Math Nazi! (1)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172932)

20,000 * $100 = $2,000,000

$2,500,000 - $2,000,000 = $500,000, the additional amount she would gain by selling half the tickets for $250 instead of $100.

Now, if she can sell out at the higher price, she would gain an additional $3,000,000 dollars ($5,000,000 total, not counting taxes and other expenses).

I do agree with your point about how it is supply and demand, though. It has nothing to do with piracy, it has everything to do with maximizing profits. If people are willing to pay $250 to see Madonna sing, then why should they only charge $100?

Re:If Madonna prices it, they will buy... (1)

an_unknown_soldier (908273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172947)

For $250, I'd be expecting Madonna to give me a blowjob at the very least.

Re:If Madonna prices it, they will buy... (2, Funny)

Jamu (852752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172994)

The subsequent decrease in demand for concert tickets will be due to P2P too. Not the high prices. I'm sure they've got another professor that will completely agree. So it must be true.

Re:If Madonna prices it, they will buy... (1)

codeviking (685537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172999)

I guess I'm glad I don't like pop music, I went to a 4 hour concert last October for about $30 CDN.

thats fine... (5, Insightful)

tont0r (868535) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172751)

I just wont go to their concerts. Just like the more they jack the prices of CDs up, the less Im going to buy them.

Re:thats fine... (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172893)

You sound like an enemy combatant in the War on Reason. See you it Gitmo!

Huh? (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172760)

Concerts were always priced at whatever the market would bear. The argument that artists were previously satisfied with their CD sales and therefore generous in their concert pricing, I don't believe for a moment.

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172822)

as well you shouldn't, as very little of the actual CD sales price ever makes it to the artists... It seems that the palms and pockets of every member of the recording industry that touches the money on it's way to the artist is covered in double sided tape, and most of the money is gone once the pile is actually handed off to the artist.

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

Kombat (93720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15173006)

very little of the actual CD sales price ever makes it to the artists.

And the problem with that is .... ?

Why should the artist get the lion's share of the money? What about the people that wrote the music, wrote the lyrics, recorded and mixed the tracks, corrected the artist's singing flaws during editing, the people who created the cover art, the people who advertise and market the album, etc. etc. etc.? Why should the self-absorbed drug addict who shows up 2 hours late and puts in a couple days' worth of work singing the songs that were written for him/her be awarded a disproportionate amount of the money? Just because its their picture on the cover?

Haven't you learned anything from INXS? American Idol? Talented singers are a dime a dozen, and totally interchangeable. Why should the people who actually STUDIED a craft (sound engineers, marketing agents, talent scouts, cover artists, songwriters, etc.) get shafted out of a fair salary, so that the egomaniacal "artist" can bling themselves out like some sort of movie star?

They're not curing cancer. They're just singing some songs. Since when does that entitle them to millions and millions of dollars?

Precisely. (2, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172902)

Besides, given the predatory nature of the recording industry towards artists, most only made money by touring as it was.

Additionally, high-end acts (supergroups, mega pop stars, etc) have always had insane pricing on their appearances anyhow.

So I don't see how something like this is a humongous surprise to anyone with enough neurons to form a synapse.

In other news... (5, Funny)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172942)

Record industry execs announce that all music will be in C major or A minor from now on.

"We hate to do it, 'cause the fans really have enjoyed the other key signatures. But we can't afford black keys on our pianos anymore. Sorry. It's 'cause of piracy. So really it's the listeners' fault."

Please use RIAA radar [] to avoid giving these tools another cent, ever.

Re:Huh? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172980)

The days of artists touring to promote record sales went away long before CDs came on the scene. Most artists see CDs as a way to get people to come to their concerts and to buy their tee shirts, posters, and what ever other crap they can sell them. Most artists make the majority of their money from concerts since the record company tends to keep most of the money from record sales.

or... (1, Insightful)

carambola5 (456983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172762)

Or maybe Madonna et al are money-grubbing who...

Seriously. $250 per ticket? Whatever happened to "making music for the purpose of making music?"

Re:or... (2, Insightful)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172789)

People stopped wanting to feel, and started wanting to be entertained.

Re:or... (3, Interesting)

Mayhem178 (920970) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172897)

"making music for the purpose of making music?"

Had to have existed in the first place for something to have happened to it.

$250 for ANY concert ticket (I don't give a damn if it's front row) is ridiculous. I seriously hope no one pays for this. I just don't understand how artists and record labels and agents are getting the idea that raising the prices of their respective products will combat piracy or ease the "negative effects" piracy is having on their sales (for now, let's just ignore all the publicity artists get from P2P). That's just completely counterintuitive in my mind. If they want their loving fans back, they should get their attention with reasonable prices. Nothing says "I appreciate my fans" better than lowering your concert ticket prices, just a smidge, so that everyone once and a while Average Joe can afford to enjoy your music.

I guess this is why I stopped buying record label music years ago. I've bought a few local band CDs, but I bought those in person from the band itself. Not just because I wanted to have their music handy, but because they rock, and they don't charge admission. They appreciate their fans enough that during intermissions, they'll get down off the stage and mingle. Now those are musicians.

In summary: to hell with Madonna.

Re:or... (5, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172920)

In Madonna's words:
Hey Mr. DJ put a record on I wanna dance with my baby
And when the music starts
I never wanna stop, it's gonna drive me crazy

Music, music
Music makes the people come together
Music mix the bourgeoisie and the rebel
As long as the rebel has $250...

wake up dude (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172935)

"Whatever happened to "making music for the purpose of making music?"'

We're talking about MADONNA here.

Re:or... (1)

TallMatt (818744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172944)

It is the smaller bands that play local concerts for $10 that make music for the purpose of making music. Once these bands get popular and realize how much money they could make if they "sell out", they do. Can you blame them? Its pretty sad however that anyone would pay $250 to go see Madonna.

Tithing. (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172988)

It's all the tithes.

To the Kaballah group, Xenu, Joe Pesci, etc.

Re:or... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15173002)

Or maybe Madonna et al are money-grubbing who...

With an album called "Meterial Girl", I don't think that has ever been in question. ;-)
Seriously. $250 per ticket? Whatever happened to "making music for the purpose of making music?"

People still do it. They're called indie musicians, and they're not neatly as rich. Some people actually turn a profit while making music for the same of it, because it resonates with people.

Madonna has been part of the super, mega hyped level of acts with huge levels of production, and huge travelling circuses of road shows -- well, for quite a while actually.

To be honest, I've not heard any of her music in years, so I don't even know why people would be willing to spend that kind of money. I can't imagine spending that much money to see any act, really.

Overpaying is overpaying... (1)

thomn8r (635504) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172768)

How is overpaying to listen to crap in person any different than overpaying to buy it on CD?

The delta (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172844)

The sound quality at the concert is worse.

I gave up on concerts years ago. Everyone just stands and screams, so the volume is cranked to the point where you either wear earplugs or suffer hearing damage. The folks near you are either drunk, high, peeing at their seat, throwing up or all of the above, and generally rate a 9.5 on the Asshole Scale.

Whee. :-\

Re:Overpaying is overpaying... (1)

wing03 (654457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172919)

How is overpaying to listen to crap in person any different than overpaying to buy it on CD?

A song or album to listen to is copy-able and share-able hence the pleasure and price ratio is quite flexible and subject to people calling it overpriced.

A live concert in some venue is a moment in time. No amount of video taping/filming will capture the full moment. They've put a price on it and if people will pay the money to go see them, all the power to them. But at least you know that market forces will determine how long they can charge those rates rather than some old suit pulling numbers out of his ass and then suing people.

Underprice!? (1)

brickballs (839527) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172771)

Underprice? I know of bands that will preform for $250 total!

Re:Underprice!? (1)

superhands (969844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172956)

I wouldnt pay a penny to see madonna, i wouldnt pay a penny to buy her music and i wouldnt spend a second downloading her music for free. Blaming loss of cd sales on p2p is a lame excuse for producing rubbish music in her old age, and should learn when to call it a day!

Re:Underprice!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172962)

Amen. Most of the ones I know will play for beer, food, and a place to crash.

Fuck pop music and pop artists.

Madonna was quoted as saying.. (3, Informative)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172776)

Re:Madonna was quoted as saying.. (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172954)

One interesting thing about the article you linked to is the last sentence:

"(...) and to steer consumers toward such legal download sites as Pressplay, MusicNet and Rhapsody"

What about iTunes? I guess these people don't like Apple all that much.

Right.... (2, Interesting)

Fapestniegd (34586) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172777)

And the latest gas prices are due completely to the rise in price of a barrel of oil.

Oh, and by price of a barrel of oil, I mean CEO salaries and bonuses.

mmmmm executive greed mmmmmmmm

Not really (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172778)

Madonna can charge $250 because that is what she wants to charge and people WILL pay it to go see her. On the other hand, look at Pearl Jam. a very popular band is selling tickets for their latest show for a whole $54 [] . This article is a bunch of shit.

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172974)

that's still 49 dollars too mcuh

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15173008)

I went to Pearl Jam concert last year, two tickets for around $100 and on the floor close enough to hit Eddie Vedder if I wanted to throw something...
Additionaly, I had money left to buy the t-shirt and download the legal bootleg from the website for $10. I didn't feel ripped off or anything. now if I paid $250 for madonna, I would be pissed off, if I saw madonna on stage in a bar for a $5 cover, well I'd still be pissed off, it's madonna, who gives a shit.

poop (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172782)

i like poop i can not lie

$250!!!!! (1)

lion2 (779555) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172785)

What kind of seats are you gonna get for that cash?!

This seat... (1, Funny)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172937)

For that price you should get the seat in which your view is exclusively the tips of her pubes. Or more accurately - HER seat.

Re:$250!!!!! (1)

Half a dent (952274) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172987)

"What kind of seats are you gonna get for that cash?!"

The toilet seat from the space shuttle? - They both take the piss.

Brain dead BBS writer? (4, Interesting)

Godeke (32895) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172788)

I usually find the BBS writer less brain dead than this article's.

Let's see: these are artists who have made millions upon millions, so the need to tour is just about zero. So they jack the price up.

Conclusion: illegal file downloaders cost live performance goers piles of cash. Um, yeah. Perhaps a better read is money hungry artists will fleece anyone they can for their new multimillion dollar home. Perhaps royalties *are* down on has been artists because of a combination of lower recording sales and their own stale presence on the market. So all they have is to repackage themselves doing classics live.

That doesn't really support the conclusion very well. Then they go interviewing people who bought scalper tickets to a sporting event to somehow prop up the story? Please.

Article is incomplete: (4, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172790)

When Robert Plummer states that artists need to charge more for their concerts to make up for sagging records sales due to file sharing, he conveniently leaves out the important fact that it is only the most popular artists that actually see a decline. As David Blackburn of Harvard illustrated in his paper, On-Line Piracy and Recorded Music Sales [] (PDF warning), the record sales of relatively unknown artists benefit from the exposure P2P file sharing gives them.

So, if the big names want to charge outrageous sums for their concerts, let them. As of now, the tatic seems to be working, but as the situation develops, I think they'll wind up pricing themselves right out of the market.

BULLSHIT!!! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172792)

$250 tickets for the latest Madonna tour are the fault of P2P file sharing.

The prices are due to the public's willingness to pay $250 to see Madonna. The public is either stupid are has more money than sense. None of it has anything to do with P2P. If the public refused to pay $250 by simply not going to any of her shows, you'd see her tickets going for $50 in no time.

but but (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172793)

when we talked about napster everyone said they should make their money off concerts. now people are complaining?

Only if you see crap music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172794)

only if you see crap music. i pay less than 20 bucks for most of the concerts i go to. then again, they aren't concerts -- they are "shows."

also, the prices will be the highest the market will tolerate.

Nothing New... (1)

TobyWong (168498) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172796)

Ticket prices were already taking a turn for the obscene before p2p ever gained popularity. Now they have a convenient excuse: "It's not our fault, we're just poor musicians trying to make a living, it's your fault you shameless downloading fans! p.s. please buy a couple $50 T-shirts on your way out".

$250? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172800)

I still wouldn't see a Madonna concert even if they paid me $250.

People still go to concerts? (1)

dfn5 (524972) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172801)

Wouldn't that require leaving the house?

They forget who makes them what they are! (1)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172804)

Without us, these stars would be working in a drive through at Taco Bell. The best to handle this is by not buying their overpriced music and not attending their shows. Their arrogant selfish people who feel that making millions isn't enough?!?! Gimme a break! I haven't bought a CD in over 10 years and have no plans to do so in the future. []

Nah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172811)

I'm not falling for this highly specious argument. The ONLY reason there are "concerts" is so the actual "artist" can get that rush that comes from having a very bright light shined into the eyes while trying to remember the lines to his/her thirty year old "hit".

Conclusion correct, reasoning flawed (2, Insightful)

Rexico (891283) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172820)

The economic (supply and demand) reasoning would actually be this: Concert tickets generally sell at a price where supply ROUGHLY equals demand. Therefore to sell at a higher price, demand must be higher now than it used to be. The reason: peeople have a music "budget". They can now get music for free so allocate their budget to concert tickets instead. Demand goes up and so do ticket prices. Their reasoning is wrong: entertainers can't just charge more to make up for lost sales: they can only charge at a price at which the tickets will sell!

Re:Conclusion correct, reasoning flawed (1)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 8 years ago | (#15173007)

Therefore to sell at a higher price, demand must be higher now than it used to be... Demand goes up and so do ticket prices.
Not necessarily. In fact, if demand drops, prices can rise if the supplier is only willing to produce a minimum quantity of items. It's mass production in reverse:

Let's say I want to make $50k per year. If I sell 100 widgets, each one has to sell for $500 over cost to make that $50k per year. If I can sell 100 at $500+cost, I'm good. Now, if I only sell 50, that means I have to charge $1000 + cost for each item. Selling 50 instead of 100 means demand dropped, not increased. Now, the only way price can increase if demand increases if supply does not increase as well. The only way prices increase if demand increases is if supplied volume cannot increase as well (for instance, oil). Let's take my example: If I can only make 100 widgets per year, and I get orders for 200, I can increase my price from $500+cost to something higher, say, $750 plus cost, to keep my order count down to 100 per year. That is a price increase due to demand increase. If, however, I can produce more, say the full 200 units, I could theoretically decrease my price to $250+cost per unit and still make the $50k I wanted to make.

Supply and demand is not, unfortunately, as simple as most people think.

That said, I believe that concerts are more akin to limited supply. The way to tell is this: demand is the number of people attending concerts, not the price. So, regardless of price, if number of attendees has remained the same or increased, demand has risen. If prices rise and number of attendees is constant, demand has risen. If prices fall and number of attendees has remained the same, demand has fallen. If prices remain the same and number of attendees falls, demand has fallen.

*sigh* is this prof on the take? (1)

enrico_suave (179651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172827)

historically "bands"(except for the super established acts like Madonna/etc that have more favorable recording contracts) have made their money on the road (the performance, t-shirt sales, cut of the concession/etc).

With CD sales the artists (with some exceptions) generally get such a small portion of the take. There's countless stories of musicians/bands with number 1 singles/albums and are broke (and not necessarily from living in excess) at the time their album is number 1.

You obviously go on the road to help promote/further your CD/band, but you also do it to make money.

*shrug* I find this argument suspect.


Concerts are where the money is... (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172828)

Artists have always made their money on the concert tours. Always.

Artists have always complained how little money is left over from record sales after the blood-sucking record companies extract all of the various contractual fees.

only a fool (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172834)

only fools and idiots would spend that amount of money to watch a performance by anyone (especially madonna)

Finally, the Music Industry Gets it (3, Insightful)

etully (158824) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172835)

This is the way it's *supposed* to work.

Bits can be copied. DRM will never work. So instead of praying for better DRM, let the music be free and serve as an *advertisement* for your concerts!

I've seen ticket prices as high as $400, $500 and up for seats to shows and that's fine. It's called supply and demand. Fans can't copy a concert seat, so they pay the going price.

Of course, all that being said, I think that the RIAA is wrong when they say that CD sales are down as a result of P2P. CD sales are down because the music sucks.

NEED to make MORE money (1)

Pizaz (594643) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172837)

But now, he says, the link between the two products has been severed, meaning that artists and their managers need to make more money from concerts...
Need to make more money? Says who.

Total BS (1)

thebdj (768618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172842)

Okay, the high price is because some artist are just downright greedy. Big stadium shows have had the best tickets in $150+ ranges for years. The concert is still one of the biggest money makers for artists, who in reality get little from their actual record sales. This is no some evil trend that always occurs either. A few years ago we were hearing about the change to small venue shows with cheaper tickets and smaller crowds. This is still not uncommon in some larger cities where these venues thrive on college and teenage fans.

Also, using Madonna is a poor example. Several artist (and for some odd reason her included) just demand high concert ticket prices. They obviously haven't crossed the point in supply and demand where people are not buying tickets, so if you can make more money, go for it. This is the idea behind capitalism, isn't it? I still know there are cheap tickets available and places, and paying $100 or more was never something I was willing to do for a concert.

There currently is money to be made, if it isn't already, on selling concert recordings online. Some artist due give away select shows for download. I believe this could make some money for people who want to remember the experience or who really like live recordings.

I call BS! (2, Interesting)

Dukkhas (775352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172843)

I mean it couldn't have anything to do withh the fact that her latest album isn't selling so good (by her standards) could it?

The artists they name in the article have made a good record in decade.

Bowie has advised his fellow performers: "You'd better be prepared for doing a lot of touring, because that's really the only unique situation that's going to be left."

Seems to me Bowie is saying play more shows not raise the prices so high nobody will show up.

Re:I call BS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172964)

It's not selling well because of the pirates. I HOPE THEY ALL BURN.

Coorelation != Causation (1)

MudButt (853616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172856)

Using this logic:
- All home prices go up because some people do home improvements
- The minimum wage keeps increasing because the baby boomers are getting older
- The average lifespan of a human keeps increasing because we're evolving into a superhuman race of mutant beings, of which the Q continuum fears greatly.

free downloads = popularity (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172857)

Before the advent of illegal downloads, artists had an incentive to underprice their concerts, because bigger audiences translated into higher record sales
Now "illegal downloads" are translated into more popularity (for free btw) and thus, higher concert tickets prices. Did I miss something?

Bowie agrees? (3, Interesting)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172863)

The last time I went and saw David Bowie in concert, it was for his Earthling tour. He was playing a relatively small venue in Atlanta and only charging $30 per ticket. It didn't come close to selling out. While the article does explicity state that Bowie sees the need to make more money off of concerts, his solution is "doing a lot of touring," not charging $200+ per ticket. Madonna has reached the status where she can charge $200+ per ticket. Most musicians will just see less attendance if they raise ticket prices. Looks to me like if this article is implying anything, it's saying that the days of good studio performers who can't play live are numbered.

Maybe if people didn't care so much about music (1)

the_tsi (19767) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172866)

I mean, it's *just* music. Why have we, as consumers, allowed ourselves to take it so seriously that it's turned into such a huge industry?


Pure economy (1)

RasendeRutje (829555) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172869)

This has nothing to do with P2P. If you sell out with $100 ticket price. next time ask $125. Still sell out? Raise the price more, etc. Simple economics.
But hey, it's always good to bash P2P...

Is this really that bad a thing? (1)

DuranDuran (252246) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172891)

I have no evidence to say whether this is actually correct or not (but, I suspect, neither do the authors of the article).

But if it is true, is it really so bad? Some will pay $250 a person to see Madonna play. OK, fine, it's their money and they can do what they like with it.

Meanwhile, we have access to P2P software that lets us sample all sorts of new music. Then I can spend my own money (and probably significantly less than $250) on seeing A Given Independent Band.

Over time, maybe fewer people will go and see Madonna play. Then where will she get her $250 from? At the same time, more people will be prepared to pay a little more to see A Given Independent Band (in the same way that bushfires make fire detectors cheaper, heightened crime makes door locks cheaper - more producers entering the lurcative market). I don't think I mind this at all.

tagging system. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172892)

I was going to post a nice indepth post here, but saw the tag that said bullshit, and well, that sums it up.

inverse that.. (1)

peculiarmethod (301094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172901)

It seems the less sophisticated music becomes, and it seems to increase its desophistication exponentially, the more expensive exponentially ticket prices become.

The upside is more people will go to bars and see new bands for cheap instead of going to see big label riaa pushed artists.

A simple calculation (1)

satsuke (263225) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172903)

The way I come to a decision on if I go to a given concert is simple.

If the cost of the ticket will buy more than half of a given artist's major releases, than I won't think of going.

Specific example from recently.

Depesh Mode is coming to Kansas City next month. Tickets are around $100 per person for the cheapest seats.

At $15 per disk I can buy 6 1/2 of their major releases since their start = no sale.

When you have to spend $200 for a night out with your SO, unless it's "extra special" .. than no dice.

Rhode Island Aeronautical Academy (1)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172906)

Before the advent of illegal downloads, artists had an incentive to underprice their concerts, because bigger audiences translated into higher record sales, Professor Krueger argues

Professor Krueger of Rhode Island Aeronautical Academy. Their athletic teams jerseys read "RIAA" for short.

I believe their mascot is the Shark.

also (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172907)

Also, lets not forget that Madonna hasn't had a number one hit for years. She is trying to correlate poor record sells with file sharing, when she should be associating it with her continually shitty music.

We need concert management! (2, Funny)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172912)

Personally, I blame high ticket prices on people illegally sneaking into concerts and stealing sound from legal concert-goers. I propose a system of Digital Concert Management, where all sound output is encrypted using a closed-source algorythm (and compressed to save bandwidth costs - 128kbs should be fine). Legal concert goers are then given headsets containing a Trusted Concert-Going Chip which decodes the compressed signal and plays back the audio through a complementary set of approved headphones. Of course, discussion of how to decrypt the signal, or even overhearing the encrypted signal without permission from the content producer, would be a criminal offence. Everybody wins!

Logic Error (5, Funny)

richdun (672214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172914)

Music Downloads = Expensive Concerts?

Well if you put it that way, of course it'll be true. This is a common mistake with the assignment operator. What you meant to say was "Music Downloads == Expensive Concerts?" This will test to see if the statement is true, then return.

Is that all? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172916)

She'd have to do way more than sing for $250...

my heart bleeds for you... (1)

gary gunrack (956165) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172926)

Awww, pooor, poooor Madonna... Yeah, right. A Madonna torrent sounds like a waste of bandwidth to me.

Madonna and David Bowie have this in common (1, Funny)

Orrin Bloquy (898571) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172928)

Sad old women with pretense to British aristocracy.

Concerts have historically been the artist's main (3, Insightful)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172936)

source of revenue... So it's no wonder that if the artist wishes to make more money, they would raise concert ticket prices.

There's really no change here.

It's been reported time and time again, that file-sharing has had very little or NO impact on music sales. Do a search withing /. to find stories regarding this topic.

I stand by my own opinion that the majority of music file sharers are the same type of folks who used to sit by the radio with cassette-recorder and recorded music off the air. They were NEVER going to buy the premium product, unless they absolutely loved the music.

There seems to be fewer high quality albums - ie, albums with more than one or two tracks actually worth listening to. Is it any wonder that sales have been declining?
Now, let's add in those people who are still holding a grudge with the music industry over their CD price fixing and their attempts at forcing price changes on the legitimate online music sales.

Does the term "Shooting one's self in the foot" come to mind? Or would "blowing one's own head off" be more appropriate?

Bullshit, this has been going on before napster (2, Insightful)

shotgunefx (239460) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172943)

Aging rockers have had the gall to charge ridiculous ticket prices long before P2P.

They're just old and don't want to tour as much.

What boggles me is that anyone would pay that much to see fading performers.

One girl I date long ago was a huge Paul Simon fan. So I got her tickets for her birthday. They were at least $100 a piece. She want a shirt? 30 bucks for some sweat shop labored fucking shirt.

Not hardly (1)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172948)

Is 'the fans always get fleeced' the rock industry's equivalent to Moore's Law?

No, it's a side effect of conspicuous consumption. Quite frankly, people who spend $250 on a concert ticket are going to have no problem shelling out $15 for a CD - they might not be able to make rent, but music's important.

China Leads the Way (1)

chill (34294) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172963)

I can't be bothered to google the related articles at the moment, but I do remember reading about this exact thing in China several months ago.

The gist was that CDs in China are so pirated, recorded music is considered nothing more than advertising and a cost of doing business for both the artists and studios. With the street price on a CD somewhere around $1, the money is made on live performances -- what can NOT be truely duplicated -- and endorsements.

The article was exploring the directions that the U.S. & European music markets will have to explore once their iron grip on copyrights no longer means anything.

It looks like this is the path that will be taken. As if Ruth (aka not-the-virgin-Madonna) needs any more money as is.

Artists and managers and record companies and RIAA (1)

Chowderbags (847952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172971)

I don't believe for a second that it's about p2p piracy, but if we assume it's true for a few moments, who's really getting hurt? It's not the artist, because they're alreadying getting screwed over by the record companies, so what measly amount they lose from lower CD sales is a drop in the bucket. So after the 20% the artist gets (Out of which, they have to pay back a large share in advertising costs, production costs, salaries of their manager and producer, etc), that's 80% that the record company gets. So any claims of it hurting the artist is bullcrap, if anything it's hurting the record company first and foremost. If you feel bad about the peanuts that the artist is losing, mail them a few bucks, then work to lobby Congress to give the copyrights to the songs back to the artists, not the record company.

$250? (1)

rlp (11898) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172973)

$250 to see a Madonna concert - much too low. They'd have to pay me a LOT more than that.

CD sales declining was always BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172975)

In the late 80's and early to late 90's people replaced their record collections with cd's. Buying the cd version of all their favorite albums. That artificially inflated sales. When everyone caught up with their collections, Rock and Pop sales started dropping.

Country and hiphop still sell more then ever.

The major label model is dying fast (excellent). Bands were always exploited for basically a loan where everyone else gets paid. You wonder why everything is crap on the radio its because no one will take chances.
Touring was always the way they made money.
You think bands make any money? here is a famous article from steve albini

        The Problem With Music
        by Steve Albini

        Whenever I talk to a band who are about to sign with a major label, I always end up thinking of them in a particular context. I imagine a trench, about four feet wide and five feet deep, maybe sixty yards long, filled with runny, decaying shit. I imagine these people, some of them good friends, some of them barely acquaintances, at one end of this trench. I also imagine a faceless industry lackey at the other end holding a fountain pen and a contract waiting to be signed. Nobody can see what's printed on the contract. It's too far away, and besides, the shit stench is making everybody's eyes water. The lackey shouts to everybody that the first one to swim the trench gets to sign the contract. Everybody dives in the trench and they struggle furiously to get to the other end. Two people arrive simultaneously and begin wrestling furiously, clawing each other and dunking each other under the shit. Eventually, one of them capitulates, and there's only one contestant left. He reaches for the pen, but the Lackey says "Actually, I think you need a little more development. Swim again, please. Backstroke". And he does of course.

        Every major label involved in the hunt for new bands now has on staff a high-profile point man, an "A & R" rep who can present a comfortable face to any prospective band. The initials stand for "Artist and Repertoire." because historically, the A & R staff would select artists to record music that they had also selected, out of an available pool of each. This is still the case, though not openly. These guys are universally young [about the same age as the bands being wooed], and nowadays they always have some obvious underground rock credibility flag they can wave.

        Lyle Preslar, former guitarist for Minor Threat, is one of them. Terry Tolkin, former NY independent booking agent and assistant manager at Touch and Go is one of them. Al Smith, former soundman at CBGB is one of them. Mike Gitter, former editor of XXX fanzine and contributor to Rip, Kerrang and other lowbrow rags is one of them. Many of the annoying turds who used to staff college radio stations are in their ranks as well. There are several reasons A & R scouts are always young. The explanation usually copped-to is that the scout will be "hip to the current musical "scene." A more important reason is that the bands will intuitively trust someone they think is a peer, and who speaks fondly of the same formative rock and roll experiences. The A & R person is the first person to make contact with the band, and as such is the first person to promise them the moon. Who better to promise them the moon than an idealistic young turk who expects to be calling the shots in a few years, and who has had no previous experience with a big record company. Hell, he's as naive as the band he's duping. When he tells them no one will interfere in their creative process, he probably even believes it. When he sits down with the band for the first time, over a plate of angel hair pasta, he can tell them with all sincerity that when they sign with company X, they're really signing with him and he's on their side. Remember that great gig I saw you at in '85? Didn't we have a blast. By now all rock bands are wise enough to be suspicious of music industry scum. There is a pervasive caricature in popular culture of a portly, middle aged ex-hipster talking a mile-a-minute, using outdated jargon and calling everybody "baby." After meeting "their" A & R guy, the band will say to themselves and everyone else, "He's not like a record company guy at all! He's like one of us." And they will be right. That's one of the reasons he was hired.

        These A & R guys are not allowed to write contracts. What they do is present the band with a letter of intent, or "deal memo," which loosely states some terms, and affirms that the band will sign with the label once a contract has been agreed on. The spookiest thing about this harmless sounding little memo, is that it is, for all legal purposes, a binding document. That is, once the band signs it, they are under obligation to conclude a deal with the label. If the label presents them with a contract that the band don't want to sign, all the label has to do is wait. There are a hundred other bands willing to sign the exact same contract, so the label is in a position of strength. These letters never have any terms of expiration, so the band remain bound by the deal memo until a contract is signed, no matter how long that takes. The band cannot sign to another laborer or even put out its own material unless they are released from their agreement, which never happens. Make no mistake about it: once a band has signed a letter of intent, they will either eventually sign a contract that suits the label or they will be destroyed.

        One of my favorite bands was held hostage for the better part of two years by a slick young "He's not like a label guy at all," A & R rep, on the basis of such a deal memo. He had failed to come through on any of his promises [something he did with similar effect to another well-known band], and so the band wanted out. Another label expressed interest, but when the A & R man was asked to release the band, he said he would need money or points, or possibly both, before he would consider it. The new label was afraid the price would be too dear, and they said no thanks. On the cusp of making their signature album, an excellent band, humiliated, broke up from the stress and the many months of inactivity. There's this band. They're pretty ordinary, but they're also pretty good, so they've attracted some attention. They're signed to a moderate-sized "independent" label owned by a distribution company, and they have another two albums owed to the label. They're a little ambitious. They'd like to get signed by a major label so they can have some security you know, get some good equipment, tour in a proper tour bus -- nothing fancy, just a little reward for all the hard work. To that end, they got a manager. He knows some of the label guys, and he can shop their next project to all the right people. He takes his cut, sure, but it's only 15%, and if he can get them signed then it's money well spent. Anyways, it doesn't cost them anything if it doesn't work. 15% of nothing isn't much! One day an A & R scout calls them, says he's 'been following them for a while now, and when their manager mentioned them to him, it just "clicked." Would they like to meet with him about the possibility of working out a deal with his label? Wow. Big Break time. They meet the guy, and y'know what -- he's not what they expected from a label guy. He's young and dresses pretty much like the band does. He knows all their favorite bands. He's like one of them. He tells them he wants to go to bat for them, to try to get them everything they want. He says anything is possible with the right attitude.

        They conclude the evening by taking home a copy of a deal memo they wrote out and signed on the spot. The A & R guy was full of great ideas, even talked about using a name producer. Butch Vig is out of the question-he wants 100 g's and three points, but they can get Don Fleming for $30,000 plus three points. Even that's a little steep, so maybe they'll go with that guy who used to be in David Letterman's band. He only wants three points. Or they can have just anybody record it (like Warton Tiers, maybe-- cost you 5 or 7 grand] and have Andy Wallace remix it for 4 grand a track plus 2 points. It was a lot to think about. Well, they like this guy and they trust him. Besides, they already signed the deal memo. He must have been serious about wanting them to sign. They break the news to their current label, and the label manager says he wants them to succeed, so they have his blessing. He will need to be compensated, of course, for the remaining albums left on their contract, but he'll work it out with the label himself.

        Sub Pop made millions from selling off Nirvana, and Twin Tone hasn't done bad either: 50 grand for the Babes and 60 grand for the Poster Children-- without having to sell a single additional record. It'll be something modest. The new label doesn't mind, so long as it's recoupable out of royalties. Well, they get the final contract, and it's not quite what they expected. They figure it's better to be safe than sorry and they turn it over to a lawyer--one who says he's experienced in entertainment law and he hammers out a few bugs. They're still not sure about it, but the lawyer says he's seen a lot of contracts, and theirs is pretty good. They'll be great royalty: 13% [less a 1O% packaging deduction]. Wasn't it Buffalo Tom that were only getting 12% less 10? Whatever. The old label only wants 50 grand, an no points. Hell, Sub Pop got 3 points when they let Nirvana go. They're signed for four years, with options on each year, for a total of over a million dollars! That's a lot of money in any man's English. The first year's advance alone is $250,000. Just think about it, a quarter million, just for being in a rock band! Their manager thinks it's a great deal, especially the large advance. Besides, he knows a publishing company that will take the band on if they get signed, and even give them an advance of 20 grand, so they'll be making that money too. The manager says publishing is pretty mysterious, and nobody really knows where all the money comes from, but the lawyer can look that contract over too. Hell, it's free money. Their booking agent is excited about the band signing to a major. He says they can maybe average $1,000 or $2,000 a night from now on. That's enough to justify a five week tour, and with tour support, they can use a proper crew, buy some good equipment and even get a tour bus! Buses are pretty expensive, but if you figure in the price of a hotel room for everybody In the band and crew, they're actually about the same cost. Some bands like Therapy? and Sloan and Stereolab use buses on their tours even when they're getting paid only a couple hundred bucks a night, and this tour should earn at least a grand or two every night. It'll be worth it. The band will be more comfortable and will play better.

        The agent says a band on a major label can get a merchandising company to pay them an advance on T-shirt sales! ridiculous! There's a gold mine here! The lawyer Should look over the merchandising contract, just to be safe. They get drunk at the signing party. Polaroids are taken and everybody looks thrilled. The label picked them up in a limo. They decided to go with the producer who used to be in Letterman's band. He had these technicians come in and tune the drums for them and tweak their amps and guitars. He had a guy bring in a slew of expensive old "vintage" microphones. Boy, were they "warm." He even had a guy come in and check the phase of all the equipment in the control room! Boy, was he professional. He used a bunch of equipment on them and by the end of it, they all agreed that it sounded very "punchy," yet "warm." All that hard work paid off. With the help of a video, the album went like hotcakes! They sold a quarter million copies! Here is the math that will explain just how fucked they are: These figures are representative of amounts that appear in record contracts daily. There's no need to skew the figures to make the scenario look bad, since real-life examples more than abound. income is bold and underlined, expenses are not.
        Advance: $ 250,000
        Manager's cut: $ 37,500
        Legal fees: $ 10,000
        Recording Budget: $ 150,000
        Producer's advance: $ 50,000
        Studio fee: $ 52,500
        Drum Amp, Mic and Phase "Doctors": $ 3,000
        Recording tape: $ 8,000
        Equipment rental: $ 5,000
        Cartage and Transportation: $ 5,000
        Lodgings while in studio: $ 10,000
        Catering: $ 3,000
        Mastering: $ 10,000
        Tape copies, reference CDs, shipping tapes, misc. expenses: $ 2,000
        Video budget: $ 30,000
        Cameras: $ 8,000
        Crew: $ 5,000
        Processing and transfers: $ 3,000
        Off-line: $ 2,000
        On-line editing: $ 3,000
        Catering: $ 1,000
        Stage and construction: $ 3,000
        Copies, couriers, transportation: $ 2,000
        Director's fee: $ 3,000
        Album Artwork: $ 5,000
        Promotional photo shoot and duplication: $ 2,000
        Band fund: $ 15,000
        New fancy professional drum kit: $ 5,000
        New fancy professional guitars [2]: $ 3,000
        New fancy professional guitar amp rigs [2]: $ 4,000
        New fancy potato-shaped bass guitar: $ 1,000
        New fancy rack of lights bass amp: $ 1,000
        Rehearsal space rental: $ 500
        Big blowout party for their friends: $ 500
        Tour expense [5 weeks]: $ 50,875
        Bus: $ 25,000
        Crew [3]: $ 7,500
        Food and per diems: $ 7,875
        Fuel: $ 3,000
        Consumable supplies: $ 3,500
        Wardrobe: $ 1,000
        Promotion: $ 3,000
        Tour gross income: $ 50,000
        Agent's cut: $ 7,500
        Manager's cut: $ 7,500
        Merchandising advance: $ 20,000
        Manager's cut: $ 3,000
        Lawyer's fee: $ 1,000
        Publishing advance: $ 20,000
        Manager's cut: $ 3,000
        Lawyer's fee: $ 1,000
        Record sales: 250,000 @ $12 =
        Gross retail revenue Royalty: [13% of 90% of retail]:
        $ 351,000
        Less advance: $ 250,000
        Producer's points: [3% less $50,000 advance]:
        $ 40,000
        Promotional budget: $ 25,000
        Recoupable buyout from previous label: $ 50,000
        Net royalty: $ -14,000
        Record company income:

        Record wholesale price: $6.50 x 250,000 =
        $1,625,000 gross income
        Artist Royalties: $ 351,000
        Deficit from royalties: $ 14,000
        Manufacturing, packaging and distribution: @ $2.20 per record: $ 550,000
        Gross profit: $ 7l0,000
        The Balance Sheet: This is how much each player got paid at the end of the game.

        Record company: $ 710,000
        Producer: $ 90,000
        Manager: $ 51,000
        Studio: $ 52,500
        Previous label: $ 50,000
        Agent: $ 7,500
        Lawyer: $ 12,000
        Band member net income each: $ 4,031.25

        The band is now 1/4 of the way through its contract, has made the music industry more than 3 million dollars richer, but is in the hole $14,000 on royalties. The band members have each earned about 1/3 as much as they would working at a 7-11, but they got to ride in a tour bus for a month. The next album will be about the same, except that the record company will insist they spend more time and money on it. Since the previous one never "recouped," the band will have no leverage, and will oblige. The next tour will be about the same, except the merchandising advance will have already been paid, and the band, strangely enough, won't have earned any royalties from their T-shirts yet. Maybe the T-shirt guys have figured out how to count money like record company guys. Some of your friends are probably already this fucked.

        Steve Albini is an independent and corporate rock record producer most widely known for having produced Nirvana's "In Utero".

Right effect, wrong cause (1)

GrnArmadillo (697378) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172977)

Recording artists are seeing less and less of their revenue from CD sales, but we have the record labels to thank for that. Labels get a huge portion of CD sales (and there's surprizingly little money to go around for a best-seller to begin with once they're done selling wholesale to Walmart). Labels get no portion of ticket sales. Coincidence? Of course it is, blame piracy! I don't know what these people would offer their shareholders as an excuse if they one day suceeded in stomping out file sharing.

Market and Production Costs (1)

hanshotfirst (851936) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172978)

Market dynamics have been well-covered by the precious comments. Full agreement.
Another difference is the cost of equipment for modern productions. Today's productions load in more gear than ever. The gear is getting more complex (read: expensive) for more dazzling effects. Light and video systems especially, but sound has grown a lot more, too. Gone are the days when a couple hundred fixed par cans, a few risers, and a stack of amplifiers would make a concert. Effects don't come cheap, but audiences expect them more than they realize.

Re:Market and Production Costs (1)

hanshotfirst (851936) | more than 8 years ago | (#15173003)


Why weren't you the preview button??

I smell subsidy! (1)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172979)

Look at this picture of Esther. She is an 82-year-old grandmother on a fixed income. Every month she has to choose between getting the medicines she needs and going to see a Madonna concert. This is unconscionable in a Western society. We should not be forcing our poor and our elderly to make these kinds of comprimises in their lives.

Open Source Music (1)

Handover Phist (932667) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172982)

I just bought myself a $250 guitar.

Artists need to make more money... (1)

Obvius (779709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172991)

Artists need to make more money ?! Like Madonna is short of cash and needs to charge 250 a ticket?

Grateful Dead (5, Insightful)

waxcrash (604628) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172992)

The Grateful Dead did it right - let your fans record your shows, but charge money for the concerts. I wish all artists would release their music as free downloads, but of course pay to see them perform live.

Hmm and what about the consistent higher profits (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15173012)

that the music industry posts year and year.

Every year they bitch and moan about how they are getting screwed, and every year they post a higher profit than last year.

Makes you kind of think they are all liars...oh wait they are.

Ticketmaster "service"fees = part of the problem (1)

tddoog (900095) | more than 8 years ago | (#15173017)

I blame Ticketmaster. Their fees are outrageous for the service they provide. If ticketmaster is the only place I can get tickets, then I don't go. No scalpers either.
I prefer to buy straight from the band or venue.

Maybe off topic but it bothers me nonetheless, so i spew

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