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ONS report: Concert tickets driving UK inflation

After Beyoncé was blamed for Sweden’s inflation rise, the UK's Office for National Statistics has made a similar claim about live music

By James Hanley on 27 Jun 2023

Beyoncé at London Stadium

image © RWT London Press

A new report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) highlights concert tickets as a driving factor of inflation in the UK.

In its latest monthly analysis, the ONS states that prices for recreational and cultural goods and services have risen 6.8% in the year to May 2023, up from 6.4% in April and the highest rate since August 1991.

Major acts to bring tours to the UK last month included Beyoncé’, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Elton John and Harry Styles.

“The increase in the annual rate between April and May 2023 was the result of small upward effects from a variety of the more detailed classes,” says the report by the non-ministerial department. “The largest came from cultural services (particularly admission fees to live music events); games, toys and hobbies (particularly computer games); and package holidays.

“Short-term movements in live music fees and computer game prices should be interpreted with a degree of caution as these movements depend upon the acts that are touring and the composition of bestseller charts respectively.”

The report comes just weeks after Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour was blamed for Sweden’s inflation rise

The report comes just weeks after Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour was blamed for Sweden’s inflation rise after kicking off at Stockholm’s Friends Arena last month. The tour reportedly prompting a surge in restaurant and hotel pricing in the area as tens of thousands of fans arrived in the city.

Michael Grahn, chief economist at Danske Bank, told CNN the additional demand from Beyoncé’s fans was behind two-thirds of the price rises seen in the hospitality sector in May. As a result, Sweden reported higher-than-expected inflation of 9.7% during the month.

“[That’s] definitely not normal,” said Grahn. “Stars come here all the time, [but] we seldom see effects like this.”

Grahn said many fans had travelled to Sweden for the two sold-out concerts in the country as tickets were relatively cheaper than elsewhere and a “very weak” Swedish currency boosted their spending power.


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