Rockonomics by Alan Krueger

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by FerK, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. FerK


    Dec 11, 2011
    Just read an interesting article on the Financial Times about this book that my brother just forwarded me. I'll quote some interesting bits:

    The core of the book, though, is Krueger’s deft sketches of the key features of today’s music business and the broader principles that they demonstrate.


    Overshadowing everything is the plunge in CD sales since 2000. Revenues from streaming services have been rising fast — they were up 34 per cent last year. But for most stars touring is still a far more important source of income.

    The top 48 musicians touring in 2017 on average earned 80 per cent of their income from their concerts, 15 per cent from recorded music sales, and 5 per cent from publishing fees. For U2, 96 per cent of their income came from touring.


    One of the most interesting chapters explains an enduring puzzle in the music business: the fact that performers regularly set prices for concert tickets at below market-clearing levels, allowing touts to make a profit on the difference between the face value and the amount that fans are willing to pay. Krueger argues that it is because a rock show is about building a community, not just delivering a performance, and many fans resist the idea of selling tickets at “unfair” prices that would match demand with supply. One of the book’s unexpected heroes is Garth Brooks, the country music megastar who developed an elegant solution to this problem in 2014: setting ticket prices at a very reasonable $70 or so, and then expanding supply by adding more tour dates until demand was fully met. Anyone making a career in the music business will find Rockonomics full of ideas for similarly astute strategies.

    Strikes me that most mainstream musicians are managing to keep their income off touring, and seem to have mostly transitioned from royalties to gigging. I did not expect that to be so stark already.
  2. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I would counter with two things:

    1. Streaming revenue may be up 34%, but musicians are still making less than they did when they were selling a physical CD/whatever.

    2. Most people go first to a secondary source like Kent Stubhub when buying tickets. Moreover, even the primary source often has fees.
  3. thetragichero


    Jan 4, 2019
    i was under the impression that the real money has always been in touring and the merchandise sales that go with it. are the artists themselves making less money off recorded music than they did when the record companies took some 90% of sales?
  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    No. It used to be, you toured hoping to break even for the publicity, so people would buy your albums. The original Woodstock price was $18, and more people got in free than bought tickets. In 1982, I saw the Who on their first farewell tour - I think I paid $25.
  5. The first of their many farewell tours. Which is a pretty good gimmick to get people to buy tickets. “Oh, a farewell tour, you’ll never see The Who live again.....until the next farewell tour.....”
  6. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    And $25 in 1982 is worth about $66 today. What are Who tickets going for now? Never mind Entwistle is gone, and Townshend isn't playing all the guitar parts.