One of the biggest rip offs in Britain today is the selling of concert tickets months if not years before the actual event.
Typically events from major music and comedy stars sell out within minutes of going on sale, for example earlier this year I bought tickets for Michael McIntyre’s tour for dates in September 2012, almost 18 months before the actual show at the O2. The O2 has a capacity of over 20,000. The tickets are sold for £35 each, that is a total of £700k gross ticket revenue for just one show.
Michael McIntyre’s tour has over 58 dates, 6 of which are at the O2. I decided to do some quick maths for his entire tour – the dates for which are published here
Tickets for the tour went on sale at the end of March, 2011 and according to the Daily Mail sold out quickly
So, over £24m was paid out, about 18 months before the events. What happens to that money? Presumably some of it goes on fees for the venues, booking agents etc. – but I assume a substantial part of it gets paid to the artists up front. The Daily Mail article says not, claiming that he will "only" make £2m from the tour if it sells out. So who is getting all that money?
But what really concerns me is the fact that I have to pay the money so far in advance. If I bought 4 tickets for the show, costing £140, I am missing out on the potential interest for that amount. Over 18 months that is equal to approx. £6.50 at 3% savings rate. So the actual cost to me of the tickets is £146.50, approximately 4.7% more than the advertised price.
Now that doesn't sound a lot, but if you multiply that by the total amount of tickets sold in the tour, that is 688,200 x £35 x 4.7% = £1,132,089 of missed interest by fans who bought tickets for this tour. How many big tours are there every year, 10, 20, 50?
If I place an advance order on Amazon for the latest album by Coldplay, or new novel from JK Rowling, they do not charge me anything until the product actually ships. So why should we be paying all this money so far in advance?
These big stars could advertise their tour as early as they like, but don't actually put tickets on sale until a month or two at the most before the shows. Anything else and I believe they are ripping off their loyal fans.
What do you think?