Live Nation: 90% of a Ticket Price Goes to Artist Fees

Finally, someone says it out loud. But is this the full story?

Well, it is according to Live Nation vice president of Marketing Jim Steen, who offered this detailed breakdown. “85 to 90 percent of your ticket price goes towards artists fees,” Steen told New Jersey local paper Little Silver-Oceanport Patch. “Another percentage goes towards operations, security, production and parking staff.  So the profit margin for the people who run the [PNS Bank] Arts Center is three percent.”

The breakdown seems to be missing some critical parts, in

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 particular certain cutbacks to Ticketmaster and Live Nation.  But it does highlight a rarely-known factor behind elevated ticket prices – at least from the consumer perspective. Specifically, artists (and managers) themselves typically reap huge profits from both excessive fees and aftermarket markups, though Ticketmaster typically gets to play ‘bad guy’.  After all, an artist wouldn’t gouge you, right?

Appropriately, the broader discussion was why Live Nation was discontinuing $10 tickets at the Holmdel, NJ-based Arts Center.  And, Jersey residents were pissed about the discontinuation, especially given the tough economic backdrop. “There’s a reality of doing business in New Jersey, and things cost money,” Steen defended. “Artists’ fees are not going down….”

“On a ten dollar ticket, we make 30 cents,” Steen calculated.