The concert ticket you buy today is more expensive than ever, but that doesn’t seem to hinder music lovers from shelling out their cash anyway. With a typical ticket going for well over $100 and VIP tickets going in the thousands, it begs the question – where does the money I just spent for my ticket go? The Guardian just ran a comprehensive article on the subject and the numbers might surprise you.
While many concertgoers assume that their $150 is going exclusively to the artist, that’s not the case at all. Here’s approximately how it breaks down:
Taxes – Right off the top, 5% is taken off the top in the US, but it can be as high as 35% in some European countries.
Licenses – PRO’s like ASCAP collect anywhere from 0.1 to 0.8%, but the PRS in the UK collects 3% of the gross.
Fixed costs – The costs of putting on a show at the venue and many and varied. These include the cost of the venue, stage hands, venue staff, electricians, scaffolding, barriers, catering, liability insurance, backstage furniture, forklifts, rigging, medical staff, among many other expenses. Some of these are included in the cost of the venue or paid by the promoter, but sometimes not. This can account for 25 to 40% of the gross.
The promoter – Of the 50% or so that’s left, the promoter can take anywhere from 5 to 15%. Of that, all costs for advertising and promotion are paid by the promoter. The promoter is also responsible for the artist’s guarantee. That means that regardless of how badly tickets sell, the artist will receive this minimum amount.
The artist gets the rest, which sounds like a lot, but there’s a lot of expenses there as well. The production (stage design), crew, sound, lights and transport (as many as 30 trucks on a huge tour, not to mention the busses for artists, musicians and crew) are the responsibility of the artist, although some of this could also come under the category of fixed costs as well. The production rehearsals before the tour (which may but up to 6 weeks with full production in a full-size venue) is also the responsibility of the artist. Then the artist has to pay management 15 to 20% of his take.
Top it all off, the daily expenses of being on the road are high. A superstar act may have an overhead of $750,000 per day on the road whether the artist plays a concert or not.
Still, there’s big money being made from touring, and almost from the beginning of modern music history, this is where the bulk of an artist’s income is made. Even a small portion of the ticket price comes out to a lot of money.