Recently, we'd been discussing how the concert business for (non-arena) musicians was still doing well for some, but that everyone was getting more and more frustrated
about fees and services charges added to ticket prices. We also wrote about how the band The Pixies
went direct to fans
with concert ticket sales, avoiding some of the annoying middlemen. It looks like more artists are starting to wake up and take notice.
Singer Joe Pug, who you may recall took part in our CwF+RtB experiment
last year, and has been experimenting with more fan friendly business models for a while, is trying to do the same with a new $10 Tour
. The idea is that all of the shows (with a couple of specific exceptions) on his next tour will cost only $10 -- and he's testing out selling at least some of the tickets directly with no fees at all, and if that goes well, will try to do so for other shows.
There is some precedent here. Corey Smith, who we've written about many times in the past, has used $5 tickets
to many of his shows to help him build up his fanbase. In that case, the story went that this helped him connect with many more fans because at $5, it was easy for an existing fan to convince friends to go (or even pay for them to go), leading to many more people getting to see Corey live.
Still, what's most interesting to me is that more and more artists, like Joe, are recognizing how much people hate some aspects of the concert-going experience (mainly dealing with the middlemen who lump on all those fees) and realize that there's a really good way to better connect with fans: which is to cut out that middleman:
A few months back I bought tickets for a concert- which shall remain nameless- only to get manhandled by service charges and by their Newspeak cousins, "convenience fees". The actual price was nearly double the face of the ticket. Half of my money was going to the band I loved, the other half to horse-thieves. Reining in ticket fees has been notoriously difficult, even for artists of great influence. But in a small step, we negotiated to do SOME of the tickets directly through our website. We're going to try this for the Chicago show on 10/16. The first 50 tickets will be available exclusively at my website with zero fees. The amount charged to your credit card will be exactly 10 bucks per ticket. If all goes well we hope to roll out the no-fee ticketing for entire tours.