What’s in your budget for a concert ticket?

How much would you pay to see Beyonce in concert? (Chris Graythen/Getty Images Sport)

Sophie Ho, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON — Just how much would you be willing to pay to see your favorite band in concert?

The prices for some of the summer’s most popular tours seem to go through the roof. One Direction grossed $131.5 million for 31 shows — selling tickets at an average price tag of $80.65.

The band is popular and hot, but could everyone shell out $80 for one night of music?

Well, it’s a price tag that seems to be in the budget of some WTOP listeners — when asked how much they would pay to see their favorite band live, a few replied that they would budget anywhere from $50 to $100.


But others said they wouldn’t shell out more than $30.


For District residents, there’s a pleasant mixture of small and larger venues — just last month, Venues Today released a list of the world’s highest-grossing venues, two of which are in the D.C. region.

Verizon Center, in D.C., and Patriot Center, in Virginia, draw large crowds every year — and high prices, too — for big-name tours and more, but local and smaller venues such as the 9:30 Club, on V Street, and Black Cat, on 14th Street, aren’t doing so badly either.

A quick look through the ticket prices at the 9:30, for example, yields prices ranging from $20 to $40, even for popular artists like Jamie XX and OkGo.

Black Cat owner Dante Ferrando says that prices for concert tickets at his venue haven’t risen dramatically over the years. Tickets to see local bands may increase a couple of bucks just to cover operating costs, but ticket prices for mid-level and large touring acts — a good portion of the Black Cat’s business — have increased.

“Ten years ago, a band could make its money on concerts and selling records,” he says. “Now they have to make almost all their money on touring.”

The influx of more venues in D.C. and the Baltimore area has also affected prices — bands have more options to turn to for stages and thus have more leverage in negotiating prices.

While bands can get higher prices and fees, consumers may have to dish out a little more in ticket prices. At least from Ferrando’s perspective, it’s up to the club to watch the price tag.

“I think for most of these shows, there’s a narrow range that’s a psychologically correct price for the show. I don’t think it’s that people can’t stand $5 extra for tickets between clubs,” he says. “I think there’s a point that you think that’s too much for a ticket or a drink or to see a band.”

Despite the rising ticket costs, sales for blockbuster shows are skyrocketing.

For example, Jay Z and Beyonce’s “On the Run” 19-show tour topped $100 million in ticket sales, with a price range of $40 to $275 (not including premium packages). Taylor Swift broke revenue records for a tour by a country artist, grossing $150 million during her 15-month tour.

Though the prices may seem high, at least for some it’s a price worth paying for a memory. But for others, concert-going is something they may just have to forgo altogether.


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