One trend in music over the last 12 months has been live music fans waiting for the cheap concert tickets instead of buying when they go on sale. That never used to happen. So what changed? A company called Lasttix popped up.
Don’t get me wrong. Lasttix is a very good business model … for Lasttix. But for the live music industry, it may just be the catalyst of the disaster.
Surely it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the rise of Lasttix has coincided with the downfall of the live music industry has it?
Lasttix describes itself as “Australia’s leading discount ticket specialist with discounts up to 60% off.”
On the surface that is a great service for promoters with leftover tickets to sell last minute. It is also a great service to fans who couldn’t afford the full price but are prepared to fill empty (and sometimes obstructed view) seats. Besides, artists always work better with a full house.
Then sometime not long ago, the intent of the original business changed as promoters started to sell the cheap tickets earlier and earlier.
Two things then happened. 1. Fans who did buy early at the full-rate got pissed off when others were getting great seats for less. 2. As fans worked out that lots of shows were going to go to Lasttix months out from the event, they just waited for the cheap ticket.
That resulted in big-name acts such as Barry Gibb and Guns N Roses struggling with their initial sales.
In Australia, Adelaide fans traditionally are loath to pre-book. Its been like that for decades. Adelaide fans expect to turn up on the day and buy tickets at the box-office. As a result, promoters tend to give Adelaide a low priority when setting up a tour. Adelaide is often simply too risky a market for promoters to consider.
This whole Lasttix cheap ticket phenomenon has turned every Australian city in “an Adelaide”. With more and more people waiting for a cheap ticket, more and more seats stay empty for longer. The longer they are empty, the more the promoter is likely to panic and as a result, cheap tickets are going on sale earlier and earlier.
That has created the downward spiral the business is currently in. The earlier cheap tickets go on sale the more incentive punters have to delay booking for a show … and down the industry goes.
If the concert industry adopted an airline philosophy they could reverse the trend. Airline tickets are cheaper the further you book out and increase in price as the flight fills. They will only get cheap again days out from the flight if there are still empty seats.
The music industry uses the complete opposite logic. The most expensive music ticket is when the show first goes on sale. It gets cheaper (via companies like Lasttix) when they fail to sell and because fans now have an expectation for cheap tickets, they fail to sell with more regularity.
The business needs more discipline to survive. Sending the message that waiting is better has been one 2016 trend this business can’t afford to see a repeat in 2017.