Skip to content

ZHIVOTOVSKI: Concert experience is ruined by outrageous ticket prices

Column:Are You Thinking What I Am Thinking?

With top artists like Taylor Swift on tour, fans want to see their music idols, but the process of acquiring tickets is nearly impossible. – Photo by @PopBase / Twitter

Nothing compares to the excitement of live music. Whether it is the deep hum of the powerful bass that rattles in your ears or the rush of excitement, you feel when your favorite artist finally emerges onto the stage, attending a concert is an experience like no other.

With a 20 percent increase in concert demand in just three years, the demand for live music is definitely on the rise. People want to go to concerts, whether it is due to the easing of lockdown restrictions or artists simply ramping up their tours to bring in more profits. So why is it becoming increasingly impossible to actually attend a concert?

When I was 13, I attended my first concert and paid a whopping $80 for the ticket. At the time, I considered that to be a decent amount of money for what would only be a 2-hour performance.

I remember going on Ticketmaster and feverishly selecting my tickets, checking out and letting the anticipation build for what would be one of the best nights of my life. Looking back now, it is crazy to think how much the process has changed and how much I wish we could go back to the days of $80 tickets.

Simply purchasing tickets is a labor-intensive process these days and begins with a barrage of pre-sale emails and long queues. If you are lucky enough to be selected for a pre-sale opportunity, you are sure to be waiting in that virtual queue line for tickets for hours on end, anxiously hoping that tickets are not sold out by the time you are able to enter the website.

By the time you are actually given a chance to buy tickets, you are already exhausted by the experience, which is not made better by the reality you face when you see ticket prices. 

Take, for example, the popular music artist Adele. Face value tickets for her Las Vegas residency began selling with an average price of approximately $400, which is already astronomical.

But the even larger issue at play when it comes to purchasing concert tickets is that prices are fluid. Dynamic pricing, as Ticketmaster describes, is a price-adjusting model that causes concert ticket prices to increase with demand with no set upper limit for how high prices can skyrocket.

With demand for some of the most popular artists, such as Taylor Swift, coming in more than 3.5 billion ticket requests on the first day of pre-sale for concert tickets on Ticketmaster, this poses a huge problem for fans who simply cannot afford to have an endless budget for live music.

Not only are you expected to pay hand-over-fist for these tickets, but you are also fighting thousands, if not millions, of other fans for tickets on a website that is simply unequipped to handle this many users and whose system has little to no organization in making sure tickets are distributed calmly.

Despite popular websites, like Ticketmaster, constantly claiming that they have improved their user experience and bandwidth, fans who have tried to purchase tickets can attest that it is next to impossible.

With frequent website crashes that threaten to undo any progress you have made in trying to purchase tickets and many requests to select and buy tickets being met with an error message, fans are left frantically scouring the site for overpriced tickets they cannot afford to purchase.

One may get the feeling that ticketing websites almost enjoy and benefit from the frenzy created around securing tickets because, either way, the site will make its profits, often at the expense of fans.

If one is lucky enough to actually make it to the purchasing portion of their experience, they are sure to be met with outrageous fees. While ticket fees are an essential part of how the venue generates revenue and pays the hard-working employees that put together the show you are about to watch, there is no transparency in what the fees you pay truly go toward. 

If the fees were truly being used to prepare your seat and concert-going experience, then the fee would be a flat rate for every ticket, but this is not the case. Instead, fees fluctuate as well, increasing based on ticket price, a system that makes no sense because every seat, in theory, should have the same associated preparation costs.

Despite these grievances, there is often nowhere else for fans to turn to fulfill their concert needs. Ticketmaster and Live Nation control approximately 70 percent of the live events venue market and are the main provider for almost all large artists.

This leaves you with no alternative when it comes to where you can purchase tickets, allowing Ticketmaster to hike prices, instill huge fees and put forth poor customer service with little to no repercussions. The only other alternative for concertgoers is the resale market, which is an even more disheartening environment.

A government report from 2018 found that, on average, resellers inflate ticket prices anywhere from approximately 50 percent to even 7,000 percent. For tickets that are nearly $400 on average, such an increase is simply unaffordable for just about every concertgoer.

So where does this leave fans who simply want to enjoy a live show by their favorite artist?

Either you must battle with Ticketmaster and related websites for astronomically priced tickets or face an even more grim resale market in which tickets are readily available for unimaginable prices. Both experiences leave the purchaser with a gaping hole in their wallet and take the joy out of concert-going.

Instead of the childhood excitement felt attending some of those first concerts, fans now feel a looming need to justify the price they have paid and the stress they have endured to secure tickets.

Emily Zhivotovski is a junior in the School of Arts and Sciences majoring in cell biology and neuroscience and minoring in health and society. Her column, "Are You Thinking what I am Thinking," runs on alternate Fridays.

*Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

YOUR VOICE | The Daily Targum welcomes submissions from all readers. Due to space limitations in our print newspaper, letters to the editor must not exceed 900 words. Guest columns and commentaries must be between 700 and 900 words. All authors must include their name, phone number, class year and college affiliation or department to be considered for publication. Please submit via email to by 4 p.m. to be considered for the following day's publication. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

Related Articles

Join our newsletterSubscribe