On Ticketing: Summer of Flat Sales

On Ticketing: Summer of Flat Sales

falling ticket sales

In a dubious record breaker, 2010 will mark the year of falling ticket sales. High profile acts like the Christina Aguilera, Eagles, Lilith Fair, and even the engaging American Idols have canceled entire tours or tour dates. What's going on?

One obvious problem is the economy.
From housing to retail, the economy has wreaked havoc on people's buying power, and leisure activities like restaurants or entertainment are often the first to lose.falling ticket sales

Lack of demand for tickets.
In the case of Ms. Aguilera, demand sputtered due to an under performing new single and accompanying video that was to showcase her new album. Lilith Fair hasn't drawn the high profile names that the '90's era LF shows had, so interest from past patrons wanting to capture the old excitement just hasn't materialized, and LF has failed to excite a younger following.

High ticket fees.
The theories behind supply and demand demonstrate that higher prices result in reduced demand. With high unemployment and stagnant incomes, the impact of higher prices is amplified. Since convenience fees raise ticket prices, demand falls.

Buyer distrust.
Recent articles on low ticket demand suggest to potential buyers that exercising patience might offer a payoff in terms of lower ticket prices. With lower demand and the specter of high cancellation costs, ticket sellers have had to drop prices to bring in more patrons. This distrust and anger felt by early ticket buyers exacerbates an already difficult season.

What's in store for 2011 ticket sales?

There are laws on the books in New York and New Jersey paving the way to lower ticket prices by requiring various forms of paperless tickets at the checkout page. These laws will reduce the hold on ticket prices by "resellers" or modern day "ticket scalpers". On the flip side, strained municipal budgets are adding their own taxes to ticket sales to alleviate shortfalls that will ultimately impact demand.

Time will tell whether this is a blip in a tough economic landscape, or if a true shift in how tickets are sold is underway. In any case, I think we're clearly seeing the road paved towards ticketing alternatives such as ThunderTix's subscription based ticketing service where venues have control of all ticket fees including the decision on whether to charge them or retain the profits they produce. This type of control spells relief for consumers and offers hope for an improved future.