Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Case of the Disappearing Concert

Lately, it seems every media outlet is talking about the demise of the venerable concert industry in the U.S., especially this summer when ticket sales are lower than usual and dates are being canceled. Most experts point to our slumped economy and the empty pockets of would-be concert goers.

No doubt, it is a contributing factor. Even those who still have jobs and income are being more cautious with their money. Gone, for the most part, are the days of frivolous spending. We want value for our money - more for less - or at the very least, some sense of satisfaction after our hard-earned cash vanishes before our eyes. For me, It's been a long time since I felt that way about a concert.

I love music and going to concerts, especially during the summer. I wait with anticipation for the slow winter months to inch into the subtle airs of Spring, when all the major venues in my area release their summer concert schedules. I eagerly pore over the schedules, mentally rating each show from must-see to must-skip, ready to determine which are worthy of my money. It's becoming more of a challenge every year. This summer? No concert tickets for me. None deemed worthy.

  1. I'm tired of the exorbitant ticket prices. Paying over $100 for a seat without a view for a lackluster performance is not my idea of fun. I admit, only once in my life did I pay an outrageous amount for tickets - it was for Madonna. The show was mediocre, seats were worse, and I took it all as a learning experience. If I'm paying that kind of money, I want to be brought on stage with the performer and have them sing only to me. And since that's not going to happen...

  2. It's not just the prices but the fees. Live Nation actually just had "No Service Fee June" to lure reluctant ticket buyers. I would like to see some statistics on the success rate of this promotion. One blog from the Boston area reported that ticket sales rose 40% in the first two weeks of the promotion. Still, though, are reports of overall ticket sale slumps. Hmm. And it's July, ya'll. Fees are back.

  3. Concert gods, this is the best you have to offer? I like all kinds of music, I really do. But geez - throw me a bone here! Concert offerings are so disappointing for me this summer: Iron Maiden? (No.) Meat Loaf? (For all that is holy in good music, no!) Lilith Fair? (You know I would have been all over it, 10 years ago, when I went through my girl-power, female rocker, angry-young-girl phase...and though I love Sarah, I'll have to pass on her weak line-up and the fact that her site lists "New York, NY" as the location for my area, even though it's in central NJ. [Sarah, baby, please learn your geography.]). Too old and aware for Bamboozled and too far away for Coachella, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, and will just miss being in the area by one week for ACL. Too slow to get online for Lady Gaga. Too energetic to hear "Roxanne" set to strings. All Points West is dead because, apparently, New Yorkers can't be bothered to cross the river and New Jersey concert goers are not good enough.
So, it's a grim concert season. My only hope right now? A small, local festival - the Union County Music Festival - that is free (and probably just as hard for New Yorkers to get to) with awesome performances from two of my favorites: Spoon and The Bravery. And maybe the beacon of hope and all that concerts should be will shine brightly for the industry to see...and maybe, just maybe, next year will solve the case of the disappearing concert.

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