Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Time to answer THAT question again: why are Irish concert tickets so expensive?

It’s the question which never goes away, despite the fact that the answer is so darn tooting obvious.

Fri, Feb 8, 2013, 09:45


The music business beat is a cyclical one and certain topics inevitably come up again and again. You probably know the list at this stage: major label woes, technological disruption, the death of physical retail, the economics of festivals etc. We don’t write much about piracy any more because, well, you know the rest.

There is one topic, though, which comes up every year around this time and is fairly unique to Ireland. That’s the one about why ticket prices here are more expensive than anywhere else. It may well be time to write a column that I can then copy and paste when someone poses this damn question next year.

This year, this topic has made its way into the news cycle like equine DNA because tickets for Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac and Beyonce’s Irish shows are more expensive than elsewhere in Europe.

We’d rather Jack than Fleetwood Mac

Thanks to the euro, it’s easy to do the compare and contrast thing between different shows and start the calls to Joe about rip-offs. It’s a hell of a lot easier to do this than actually drilling down into the costs of putting on a show here or, indeed, elsewhere.

Scottish singer-songwriter and former Marillion frontman Fish wrote a fascinating blogpost recently about the costs involved in his 2012 UK tour which showed where every penny in ticket sales went.

Ticket prices in Ireland are high because the costs of doing shows here is also high. Those of us who live here know only too well that the cost of absolutely everything in Ireland is higher than elsewhere in Europe, so why should concerts be exempt from having to charge a similar high tarrif to meet those costs? Time for a bit of a reality check on this perennial favourite of the chattering classes.