Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift's "The Eras Tour" triggered unprecedented demand for tickets. AFP News/ANGELA WEISS

Inflationary pressures are extending their reach to the world of entertainment as concert ticket prices experience a significant surge, leaving music enthusiasts feeling the pinch.

Millions of fans around the world are willing to pay a small fortune to see pop stars like Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Bruce Springsteen who haven't toured in years.

With popular artists commanding higher fees and production costs escalating, attending live performances has become increasingly expensive, raising concerns about the impact on fans' wallets and the broader issue of inflation.

The concert industry, once known for its accessibility and diverse range of ticket prices, is witnessing a noticeable upward trend in prices. A combination of factors contributes to this phenomenon, with one of the primary drivers being the growing demand to witness chart-topping musicians perform live.

"People are willing to splurge because they know they will get quality content, plus who knows when or if she'll do another tour after this one," said London-based Beyoncé fan Mario Ihieme.

Artists are increasingly recognised as key influencers in driving ticket prices. The immense popularity and global appeal of today's biggest acts have led to heightened competition among promoters and venues to secure their performances.

As a result, artists can demand higher fees, often reflecting their market value and the significant demand to experience their live shows.

Recreation and culture prices in the UK rose to 6.8 per cent in May 2023, the fastest in 30 years. This is in large part an effect of cultural services, particularly admission fees to live music events.

Simultaneously, production costs associated with elaborate stage designs, advanced audiovisual technologies and intricate set pieces have skyrocketed. Artists and their production teams strive to create immersive experiences for concertgoers, complete with visually stunning visuals and awe-inspiring performances.

The surge in concert ticket prices has raised concerns about affordability and accessibility, potentially leaving fans unable to attend the shows of their favourite artists. This issue is particularly pronounced among younger audiences and individuals on tighter budgets, who may find themselves excluded from witnessing live performances due to soaring costs.

Stephen Glagola, TD Cowen vice president of equity research, said prices for tickets on the secondary market had soared to an average of 75 per cent to 100 per cent above face value.

The impact of rising concert prices extends beyond individual fans' wallets. It also has broader implications for the music industry and the economy as a whole.

Concerts and live performances play a vital role in the music ecosystem, serving as a significant revenue stream for artists, record labels, promoters and venue owners. The increasing costs associated with attending concerts could potentially impact overall industry revenue and audience engagement.

In Britain, about 150,000 music fans paid £340 ($431) for a ticket to June's Glastonbury festival to see stellar acts like Elton John, Lana Del Rey, Arctic Monkeys and Guns 'N Roses.

Beth Cook, a social media director from Leeds in northern England, said she expected to spend 100 pounds a day at the five-day festival as watching the live performances was worth the expense.

She believes: "When the pandemic was in full swing, I think everyone was in a really low mood, and we missed out on events like this, where people all come together. Now I think with things up and running, the people who can afford to are saving up to come to things like this because they are amazing."

Additionally, advancements in technology have made it possible for artists to reach audiences through live-streamed performances, providing an accessible and cost-effective alternative for fans who may not be able to attend in person and a great marketing tool for more people to be enticed to attend the tour dates when their favourite artists make a stop in their hometown.

As the concert industry grapples with inflationary pressures, stakeholders must carefully navigate the delicate balance between artist compensation, production quality, and fan affordability.