Classic rock concert tickets are the most expensive, study finds


Whoever said “rock is dead” probably isn’t looking at box office totals from the past few years. But FinanceBuzz recently did a statistical breakdown of touring revenue generated by acts across all musical genres and found that rock and its various offshoots are still earning quite well once all revenue is tallied. In fact, classic rock acts fetch the highest average ticket price.

For this study, FinanceBuzz analyzed 13 genres of music, using statistical data from Pollstar’s Top 200 North American Tours of 2019-2021 and Top 100 World Tours of 2017-2018.

While rock fans have remained loyal, they’ve also shown a penchant for spending when it comes to seeing their favorite artists. According to the study, classic rock was considered the most expensive music genre to watch live, with viewers paying an average of $119.14 per ticket sold between 2017 and 2021. Rock artists rank fourth behind genres pop and latin with an average ticket of $85.94 over the same period. Meanwhile, alternative rock bands kept it relatively cheap compared to an average ticket of $63.54 over the same period.

One of the reasons Classic Rock tickets were so high is that Bruce Springsteen’s Springsteen run on Broadway helped boost the average. Overall, the most expensive tickets during the 2017-2021 period were the average ticket prices of 2017 ($496.16), 2018 ($508.93), and 2019 ($506.39). These ended up being the three highest average ticket prices incurred across all genres during the study period. Only two other artists had an average ticket price above $300. In 2020, fans of pop star Lady Gaga paid an average of $337.43 for her 2020 tour, surpassing Bruno Mars’ 2021 total of $330.73.

While classic rock tickets were considered the most expensive, the pop genre narrowly beat out classic rock for average ticket sales per tour by genre. Pop Tours raised $38,600,010 during the 2017-2021 survey period, while Classic Rock grossed $35,564,485. And right behind was the Rock genre with $33,702,372. Once again, Alt-Rock acts brought in significantly less, earning $13,894,485 during this period.

So who was accumulating in their respective genres? As you might guess from the ticket price statistics, Bruce Springsteen’s average ticket price for a single tour was $508.93 in the Classic Rock genre. Metallica led the Rock genre with an average of $229.31 for a ticket, while The Strokes was Alt-Rock’s top ticket during the period with an average of $126.70.

Despite the high prices, fans still seem willing to pay them. Pop leads all genres in total ticket sales at $5.29 billion. But classic rock and rock still did well with $3.55 billion for classic rock and $2.43 billion for rock. And despite falling ticket prices for alternative rock acts, they finished fifth in total ticket sales just behind Country, earning $1.14 billion.

Check out more compiled data here.

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