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Price rise slows as 11% of European fests slash ticket costs

The increase in ticket prices for European music festivals slowed this year, reveals IQ’s new European Festival Report 2017, with the average cost of a ticket increasing only marginally after a huge jump from 2015 to 2016.

Reflecting increased costs for talent and production, ticket prices spiralled 8% in 2016, with OpenAir St Gallen’s Christof Huber pointing to a combination of rising security/infrastructure costs and, especially, artist fees. In 2017, that growth has largely stabilised, increasing just 1% to €148.36 (from €146.22).

Keeping that average price pegged are a number of factors: while 49% of European Festival Report 2017 survey respondents raised their ticket prices in 2017, 36% maintained pricing at last year’s levels. With artist fees, production costs and security, in particular, costing more year on year, increasing ticket prices hardly come as a surprise.

However, a significant 11% of festivals around Europe decided to decrease their ticket prices in 2017. Some reasoned that fewer festival days warranted a price break, while others simply could not secure big-name headline acts and were therefore able to keep prices down.

Festival ticket price increase, European Festival Report 2017

One area of ticketing that has undergone significant surgery in the past 12 months is the way in which our surveyed festivals sell their tickets. In our 2016 report, we noted that, overall, 51% of tickets were sold via the festivals’ own websites, while third-party online sales accounted for 27% of total sales.

This year, the dominance of online sales outlets was even more pronounced, with online sales via festivals’ own websites increasing their share to an impressive 60%, while third-party website sales also gained a bigger slice of the pie with 30% of overall festival ticket sales.

Underlining the growing importance of online sales, two years ago our 2015 report recorded sales by festivals’ own websites of just 42%, while third-party online sales were 39%. This could suggest that festival management have determinedly taken control of their own ticketing inventory to try to improve profit margins, rather than pay percentages to third-party sellers. However, the fact that those third-party online platforms increased their share of sales in 2017 might point to a marketing fight-back by the ticketing specialists, albeit at the expense of call-centre workers.

Get the full lowdown on Europe’s festival summer, including insights into capacity and attendance, staffing, VIP options, overseas attendance, new tech and RFID, safety, concerts and more, in the European Festival Report 2017.

European Festival Report 2017


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ILMC, MIC launch Live Data Agency

The teams behind Media Insight Consulting (MIC) and the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) and IQ Magazine today announced the launch of the Live Data Agency (LDA), a joint venture specialising in big data analysis, consumer research and economic modelling for the live music business.

LDA is headed by music business economist and MIC founder Chris Carey, who was formerly global insight director at Universal Music Group and senior economist at PRS for Music. “With an overwhelming amount of information available to the live music business, the challenge is knowing where to start,” he says. “Our aim is to help companies use the data that they already have, or collaborate with them to create new data points, to gain valuable insight into their business.”

Having already completed projects for The O2 Arena, Eventbrite, Spotify and IQ, Carey says LDA has the tools to offer unique insight in the space. “The advantage of specialising in live is that we already know where some of the demons are hiding, so can avoid analytical mistakes people from outside live might struggle with,” he adds.

“Twinning the economic expertise of Chris and his team with the research and content capabilities of IQ gives LDA a unique position in the live music space”

Team members working alongside Carey at the agency include former UK Festival Awards MD James Drury, insight directors Claire Buckle and Michael Deacon and IQ news editor Jon Chapple.

“Twinning the economic expertise of Chris and his team with the research and content capabilities of IQ Magazine gives LDA a very unique position in the live music space,” comments ILMC head Greg Parmley. “I would encourage anyone looking at new markets or projects, or wanting to make more use of their pre-existing data, to get in touch with Chris and the team.”

Further details about LDA can be found at or by emailing [email protected].


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