Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Festival prices: "ooh, they'll have to go up, they will"

Thanks to Mark B who sent me a link to this story, which predicts a possible rise in gig prices as PRS demand more, and George Osborne pretends he has no choice but to hike VAT:

Melvin Benn, who runs the Reading, Leeds and Latitude festivals, described it as "blatant money-grabbing".

With VAT also rising by 2.5%, Mr Benn, who runs Festival Republic, said the cost of an average festival ticket would go up by about £10.

Given how the festivals Benn are involved with have been hiking prices, Benn should know a blatant money grab when he sees it.

In 2008, a ticket to Leeds cost £145.

In 2010, the same ticket cost £180.

It's strange that a man who thinks nothing of slapping an extra £35 on a ticket over two years suddenly gets outraged for his customers at the prospect of another tenner going on.

That's not say the PRS demands are entirely fair - they're talking about an increase in the percentage take they get from the ticket price:
PRS For Music's Debbie Mulloy said: "It's been over 20 years since we last reviewed this tariff and it's part of a general review of all our tariffs.

"This is one sector where there have been massive amounts of change and we felt a good review was required to make sure everything was still fair and reasonable."

The rate would not necessarily increase, she said. "There's no foregone conclusion here. It's not as simple as saying we want the rate to be higher. There are a number of things we have to assess."

As Mark B pointed out in his email:
No doubt the possibility of reducing the tariff will also be considered

The PRS is suggesting it might charge larger festivals more than smaller festivals, but doesn't entirely explain why. If you're getting 3% of ticket prices, then you already get more for a larger festival than a small one.

If the suggestion is that the percentage rate should be higher for a bigger event, the moral justification for that is far from clear. In fact, morally, you could argue that PRS get a lower percentage cut than they do from ticket sales at smaller events.

If you look at an afternoon-in-a-park type affair, the main attraction is music. If you look at Glastonbury, many people go for attractions other than the music. And if the work of the PRS members is less crucial to bringing in the punters, then surely their share of the ticket take should go down?

PRS might regret having opened this particular Pandorica.


4 comments:

Mbop Promotions said...

It's getting out of hand - nigh on 200 quid for a festival ticket, it's a joke!

Anonymous said...

The first time I went to Reading Festival was in 2002. I bought a weekend ticket from HMV two weeks before it started and it cost me £90.

Olive said...

With VAT also rising by 2.5%, Mr Benn, who runs Festival Republic, said the cost of an average festival ticket would go up by about £10.

That's odd, I've seen the episode with the suit of armour, and the one with the spacesuit, but I've never seen the one where he comes out of the dressing room in a money grabbing shitehawk costume.

Anonymous said...

Who could forget when tickets fell in price when they dropped vat to 15%... oh no wait.. that didn't happen. You've got to love how they'll pick up on any excuse for their money grabbing.


Just out of interest, does anyone know how the money gets divided up by the PRS from festivals?

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