Money’s Too Tight (To Mention)

Arguably the biggest cohort of people who attend concerts—which seem to be the means by which a number of performers are finding to be the means, perhaps the only means, by which they are able to make a sufficient amount of money to keep the lights on—are students, and directly after them are those who have recently been students.

According to FinanceBuzz the average ticket price for classic rock acts between 2017 and 2021 was $119.14. Pop: $100.65. Rock: $85.94. Then within those categories, the performer with the highest average ticket price during a single tour for Classic Rock was Bruce Springsteen, at $508.93. Pop, Lady Gaga: $337.43. Rock: Metallic: $229.31.

These numbers are enough for one to shout Jesu!

Which then might lead to a solid financial move, in that the least expensive musical genre is Christian, with the average ducat going for $39.38.

That’s a third of the average price of a ticket for Classic Rock.

The Christian performer with the highest average ticket price was Laurent Daigle, at $58.64.

That’s about 12% of the price of a ticket to see the Boss on Broadway.

Which brings me back to students and those who have recently attended organizations of higher learning.

A recently conducted survey by Morning Consult based on the fact that the federal student loan payment moratorium is going to disappear in 2023 found that 30% of the respondents said that they would “probably not” be able to afford their student loan payments and another 28% said that they’d “definitely not” be able to pay.

Of those who are on the side of not getting endless, nasty phone calls and dunning letters, only 13% said that they’d “definitely” be able to pay back the loan. The remaining 29% said they’d “probably” be able to pay what they owe.

So there’s 58% on the not being able to afford it well or at all side, 29% that’s iffy, and 13% who would be able to afford Classic Rock tickets.

To be sure, not every performer is in the Springsteen/Gaga/Metallica sphere. Going back to the FinanceBuzz numbers, it should be noted that in the Alternative Rock category The Strokes took in an average ticket price of $126.70, which is a few bucks less than Jimmy Buffet, who was at $131.52 (a $4.82 difference) but more than Jay-Z/Beyoncé, who had an average ticket price of $117.13, or $9.57 less than The Strokes.

This is being written on September 17, when Riot Fest is occurring in Chicago. Perhaps it would be the case that the festival environment would lead to significantly less cost. However, to buy a general admission ticket for today it would cost $119.98—or in reality $144.37 once the fees and taxes are added. (Strangely, that’s just an 84-cent difference from that Classic Rock number indicated above.)

While some might look at those numbers and think, “Meh,” that some probably doesn’t include those who have an average student loan debt of $28,950 and are interested in things like paying rent: According to, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in August 2022 was $1,721, a 27.13% increase over August 2021. The median average weekly earnings for someone with a college degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $1,547.

All of which is to say that there is quite possibly a situation that will grow in 2023 of people simply not being able to afford to go to concerts. This probably won’t have as massive an effect on the income of performers as the shutdowns caused by the pandemic, but for those who aren’t making the monies that some of the aforementioned are taking in on ticket prices, it is still going to be a troubling situation, especially as many of these acts are trying to recover from the months of lost income resulting from COVID.

Somehow, I think, the Christian acts will be OK.


With the recent announced retirements of tennis greats Serina Williams and Roger Federer, it came to mind that retirement is something that rock musicians seem to go into mainly in a casket. Giving up is something that is evidently hard to do.

Consider Ozzy Osbourne. In 1992 he went out on the “No More Tours” tour. Which sounded fairly definitive. But three years later, in 1995, he set out on the “Retirement Sucks” tour. There were six subsequent tours and he is on his seventh, “No More Tours II,” which started in 2018, had a hiatus due to illness and then the COVID lockdown, and is to be completed in 2023, or 31 years after the first time he said he was done.

Ozzy, too, has bills to pay.

Elton John is on his final tour, “Farewell Yellow Brick Road.” He is certainly wearing a rut in that road, as the tour kicked off in September 2018 and is to come to a close in July 2023. To his credit—or perhaps tenacity—he had announced the lengthy length of the tour when he started, though it should be noted that he added dates within weeks of starting. The final show is scheduled for Stockholm on July 8, 2023.

But will it be the end?

Paul Simon stopped touring in 2019. Given that he is presently 80, that is probably a reasonable thing for him to have done. But it appears that he is the exception, not the rule. Ringo is 82 and he’s booked tour dates into 2023.

In July, Robert Fripp, discussing King Crimson, told Billboard, that it would be unlikely that the band will tour again:

“I think we have to view the reality of the age of the people involved. Two of us are 76, and shortly three will be. So going out for eight weeks to do performances of three hours and 20 minutes is a very big ask. It takes me six months to get ready as a player.”

But it isn’t outside the realm of possibility:

“If you asked what would it take for King Crimson to go on a major tour again? My quick answer would be: If I knew for certainty that King Crimson touring was the only way to prevent World War III, I’d be making phone calls.”

Fripp, incidentally, is currently on tour and he and Toyah Willcox, his spouse, have announced “Toyah and Robert’s Sunday Lunch Tour 2023.”

2 thoughts on “Money’s Too Tight (To Mention)”

  1. Given that the average amount of student debt is $30,000, even post-forgiveness that’s a lot of money remaining to be paid back

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