Cost of Living crisis, it’s everywhere, up and down, swirling around, brass (not) in pocket, rents and mortgages. It’s the 'Ukraine War' ... 'oil states'...'Brexit'...'worker shortages'... 'lack of skills'... 'interest rates...'
All these and more, are cited as inflation’s evil parent. I mean anything but not anything that has anything to do at all with any government behaviour in the UK. But… Rock and Roll responsible for inflation’s curse? That was a new one for me. Turns out to be TRUE. Well in Sweden at least.
Swedish reports claim that it was Beyonce, those fans of hers, their hotel rooms, travel, tickets, eating out to help out, all played their part in boosting Sweden’s inflation, or so economists said, possibly redefining the maxim, ‘Economics was invented to make Astrology look respectable'.
My immediate reaction to Beyonce causing inflation, was to decry it as another load of tosh and to think no more about it. I booked a couple of gig tickets before my own ticketing truth hit home, with a capital S for Shock.
One of these was for an enormously famous and famously respected, perhaps avant-garde would be a suitable description, guitarist, and his post-punk chart making female partner were on tour together. During the pandemic the duo distracted tens, maybe hundreds of thousands amused, entertained, challenged, thankful, with wonderful, off-the-wall songs, and amazingly diverse cover versions and repartee.
They were coming to a venue near me, so I logged on, picked my ticket, and then saw the following breakdown.
Service charge £3.95
Facility charge £1.50
(*) discretionary charge – the rest appear compulsory.
I thought, fuck me what does the ‘ticket agency actually do? If they ‘promoted’ the tour, I might understand it, but all they do (it seems to me) is operate a website and process a credit card. You can’t even print a simple ticket at home, and where you do I’ve seen charges of £1.00plus, to print at home. They send a text, or e-mail with a QR code, to a mobile phone, and that’s it, that’s all they do. Try flogging that on a collectibles website in 20 years.
For the show featuring this dynamic if ageing duo, almost 30% of what you pay goes to someone who takes no risk whatsoever, and records your bits of data to profit from.
It’s the sheer naked effrontery of these charges, let’s not forget the artist will NOT even get all the headline ticket price, in this example, £28.50, some will go to a tour Promoter, some to the venue, some to the artist’s management. I reckon the artists will be doing well if they get what? £10.00 from each ticket? These add-ons from vendors seem excessive, and everyone seems to be grabbing a slice. Looks like it’s the artist that gets screwed again.
Though I’ve not tracked changes, it strikes me that like airlines, ticket agencies are finding new ways to raise additional charges and disguising it as broken biscuits or loose change.
Sadly, this is just a frustrated winge, there’s no way of avoiding all the additional ( enforced) charges. We’re locked in, commercial pressures have forced box office closures and exclusive deals with the same agencies mean a similar rise in charges. As punters, we just have to suck it up, with agencies, dare call them bloodsuckers, a permanent feature of rock and roll, jazz, and soul’s tapestry of live music.
New Republic has stated that a leading ticket agency reported profits in excess of £300,000,000, in 2022. Money For Nothing? Nice work, if you can get it.
Bowie ticket screengrab from eBay, you can Buy It Now for £195.00