Everyone wants to feel special and perhaps that’s how the cliché phrase of, “you are unique” came about. Humans are complex creatures who seemingly have a never-ending string of needs to be satisfied and this psychological need of esteem--wanting to stand out from the crowd is highly evident from the exorbitant prices that some are willing to fork out to watch live concerts by our idols. Despite this, I do not condemn such behaviours but rather take on the stand of empathy and comprehension.
Firstly, think about it. How often do us “commoners” get to see famous celebrities live and let alone interact with them face to face— (if one purchases VIP passes which usually includes a up close and personal meet up session)? Society has moulded our mindsets. Celebrities such as Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran are put on a pedestal and worshipped. We get entangled with even the most insignificant part of their lives such as the type of grocery stores they patronise due to media reporting. Due to such exposure of content, most of us have adopted a perception that these celebrities are supposedly better and possibly even improved versions of ourselves and hence are our end goal. They are different from us in terms of the riches they had amassed, their luxurious lifestyles that they lead and even down to possibly the food they consume. We are so caught up with the notion of differentiation and so afraid of conformity than we succumb to societal pressure and would pay $250 for a Category 3 Bruno Mars’s concert ticket just to get that slight taste of “difference” for a mere two hours. People are paying for that different and idealised experience. It is as if that the mere presence of their idols being right there with them in that same venue and time would somewhat allow them to immerse and actually live in their idols’ lives which some have been dreaming about for ages. There are added benefits to this of course. Think about the amount of boasting rights these individuals would be entitled to. This, yet again, sets themselves apart from the general population.
Large sums of payments might simply be driven by basic reasons too, such as personal significance. Who knew the first ever Rolling Stones’s concert would bring a lifetime of happiness for this particular fan, who met his wife there and then at their 1964 concert. To commemorate this momentous occasion, this fan proudly claimed that the purchase of two tickets costing $ 1477 for the U.S. leg of the Stones’s 50th anniversary tour back in 2012 was completely worthwhile, though some would call it an insane splurge! “Break-up songs singers,” as I would like to call them, are known to incorporate raw and genuine feelings of heartbreak into their lyrics before stringing them into hauntingly mesmerising melodies--tailored to mend a broken heart. My friends who had their fair share of heartbreaks had sworn by Ed Sheeran and Jason Mraz’s songs to get them through their darkest. It is due to such impactful moments that makes numericals attached to ticket prices potentially baseless, so to speak. Furthermore, concerts held by certain artistes like Paul Mc Cartney are rare and hence they are largely perceived by fans as special occasion purchases. Therefore, it might be due to the scarcity of such events that propels fans to splurge once in a while. Then, we also have the category of legends such as Paul Mc Cartney, one of the 2 remaining members of the Beatles. This group of entertainers are in rarefied air and hence fans might commensurate their legacy with ticket prices and find them worthwhile after all. Using Mc Cartney’s concert as an example, his Cleveland show has VIP front row packages which include a whole row suite of perks with a colossal price tag of $2100. Research has been done in light of the major pop concert ticket prices increasing at a rate much faster than inflation. In North America, average ticket prices increased by a whopping 20% between 2010 and 2015. People are getting curious of the breakdown of exactly how much the artiste pockets and how much control they have in the determination of prices set as prices had skyrocketed in recent years. Despite the knowing the fact that an artiste could pocket up to a whopping 90% of ticket sales, fan have not been thrown off. One even came forward proudly, claiming to have spent a whole month’s rent money on a Beyonce ticket!
However, do not be so quick to dismiss those who are unconvinced and still feeling apprehensive. With the increased in earnings from concerts driven by prices, the production teams have much more money to spend. Individuals who had supposedly analysed the breakdowns have speculated that the tendency to spend on unnecessary items such as fancy hotel accommodations are positively correlated to the amount of revenue that has been drawn in. Perhaps now you would think twice about forking out a huge sum of your hard-earned money or that of your parent’s knowing that it is going to fund the enjoyment of another individual. On the flip side, in order to give you the ultimate concert experience, a night that fans would remember for ages, capital is needed to obtain the resources required. Obviously with more capital on hand, the grandeur of the concert would be amplified. One could expect better staging, impressive costumes, sound systems etc. Therefore, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
In addition, attending a concert is just like attending a party, it is essentially a social event. Going back to our primal roots, we yearn for acceptance and the sense of belonging. Such desired needs could be fulfilled when fans come together with signboards and dressed in similar fashion. For instance, Taylor Swift’s fans were adorned in red during her “Red” tour. It is such similarity in actions that forms unity. It is rare and hard sometimes to truly connect with another individual, but these concerts provide great platforms for individuals with the same common interest to socialise and nurture such bonds. Such occasional exchanges of human interactions certainly make the hefty sum of concert tickets worthwhile.
In conclusion, I strongly believe that it is largely justifiable that concert tickets are increasingly getting more expensive due to our desire to be different from the general population. Such concerts allow us to gain access to a united community which promotes feelings of belonging and acceptance which satisfies our psychological needs based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Lastly, we all have our own significant moments as for some of us these idols had a major role to play in them. Hence, I certainly see no wrong in fans perhaps displaying their unflinching loyalty by purchasing tickets. Therefore, the next time you see a someone painstakingly waiting in line to buy a concert ticket, think hard before you diss them. Their reasons for doing so just might surprise you.