{CASE STUDY} – Inside the world of extremely expensive VIP concert tickets and what they can teach you about pricing and marketing

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The world of concert tickets for superstar musicians has gone crazy with pricing. If you think building your business website is expensive from web design to marketing, you have no idea what is in store if you want to go to concerts. From expensive standing admission tickets (!) to luxury VIP tickets, the days where you could find a cheap standing ticket for $50 are long gone. I have become fascinated with how concert promoters and artists are pricing tickets for their concerts because I think it highlights how far businesses and brands are willing to push lay consumers to the limit.

In B2B, sometimes you can feel afraid to charge the amount that you think you are worth because you don’t want to spook the client. However, stars such as Beyoncé and Taylor Swift are offering tickets in the VIP range that are eye-watering to say the least. Let’s take a look and see the pricing ranges.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z VIP Ticket Pricing Models

The married superstar couple are preparing to go on a joint tour starting from July 2018 called On The Run II (OTR II). Their VIP pricing differs depending on what city they are performing in.

I went to the first OTR I in 2014 in Paris with my partner and we purchased standing tickets for 50 Euros a piece. These standing tickets were affordable but they did take a toll on us physically as we were standing for 3 hours for the show. This is how the VIP tickets are priced:

  • The VIP tickets range from $1,245 to $1,800+: Depending on which market they are in, the VIP tickets are from $1,000 and up. The promoter is really flogging the pros of these tickets hard on Ticketmaster noting that you receive free gifts, you get access to a VIP lounge with alcohol and cocktails, and you will be in the VIP section with unobstructed views of the stage. These tickets are seated.
  • Gold and Silver VIP tickets range from $420 to $600+: These tickets are interesting because they are cheaper than the VIP tickets however, you only receive one seat per ticket and a small gift.
  • VIP Standing tickets: This is where the insanity manifests itself into something real. For this OTR II tour, there are standing tickets near the VIP area that are $770. Yes $770. I think this is barking mad and even though I have seen Beyoncé several times in concert, I think you have to be crazy to even consider purchasing a standing ticket for $770 when the normal standing ticket for this tour retails at $50.

From $50 to $1,800 tickets, this tour varies wildly in its options for fans. Let’s get into whether it is actually worth it. 

Are you crazy if you buy a standing ticket that is $770?

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You might be if you want to stand and watch entertainers for $770 without being able to sit down! I think this is the ticket that is priced without being rooted in reality. Live Nation, the promoter of the OTR II tour, did not think this through and I hope the artists realise that a standing ticket that is $700+ is a huge turn off to a wide range of fans who would be willing to purchase a normal priced ticket.

This example shows that you need to price tiers for your business correctly to avoid losing the people who are supporting your business. Whether you are a music superstar or a B2B heavyweight with your business, price your business services affordably based on what they are offering. Whether you are growing a digital marketing business, a blog or a B2B firm, don’t overcharge for services that are basic. I am amazed that Live Nation thought they could get away from charging $770 for a standing ticket even if it is near the VIP area. This is madness and it needs to stop. At least if you are growing your business, you can choose from affordable business providers who won’t gouge your eyes out for website design and web hosting.

Are people who purchase VIP tickets for $1,200+ even crazier?

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The VIP tickets vary from the VIP Riser option, the Runway VIP option and the OTR Lounge option. These are basically all the same however the Runway choice is the most expensive option and in some markets, it reaches almost $1,990 per ticket.

My view on VIP concert tickets is that they are purchased by the following types of people:

  • Superfans who want a rich and engaged experience
  • People who want to try something new when it comes to concerts
  • Fans who prefer experiences instead of physical products (i.e CDs, merchandise)

While I think the VIP standing tickets for OTR II are a huge rip-off, these VIP tickets are expensive however they offer better value for money. I won’t bore you with tonnes of details as I covered them before in the feature, however, all of the VIP seated tickets allow you to chill out in the lounge and drink alcohol and eat food while people who have cheap standing tickets are waiting outside in the rain.

There is something about it that does feel like you are an aristocrat with the VIP tickets while others with standing tickets are serfs. Harsh but true – that said I think the VIP seated tickets are probably worth the money IF you are a die-hard fan of the artist. I don’t think anyone should purchase these VIP tickets unless they have gone to tours before of Beyoncé and Jay-Z.

VIP tickets make sense only for people who are deeply passionate about the artists and have previously purchased their albums. If you are thinking about spending this amount of money for an artists whose music you don’t even really like, it’s not worth the effort.

The people who purchase VIP concert tickets for $1,000 are the same people who can purchase high end options for your eCommerce brand if you are focused enough on finding out how to reach them and to understand what would compel them to buy. For business owners who want to increase sales of their eCommerce business, you need to approach how you grow your business the same way concert promoters target VIP customers – create an experience and tie it with excellent branding.

What is the buyer persona for someone who would buy a VIP concert ticket?

  • These concert goers want experiences that they will remember
  • VIP concert purchasers want the prestige that goes along with these concerts
  • VIP ticket holders are ready to spend money because they believe comfort matters more than being squeezed in the standard admission tickets. Float this concept into your business by highlighting the comfort factor of purchasing products from your website instead of going to cheaper and more stressful suppliers.
  • VIP ticket holders are happy to use the ‘slow ticketing’ method and save money for the right experience
  • These ticket holders believe and support in the vision of the artist

The final point is the one which is the most potent. You can also parlay this support for your business by cultivating a group of VIP fans or followers of your business who you think truly believe in what you are doing. This fascinating feature from the New York Times sheds light into the passionate VIP fans of Jon Bon Jovi who are ready to spend $8,000 on tickets for the band without even getting to meet the band.

You can use the same approach that rock bands and singers use to find out who their VIP fans are by making a conservative guess that around 10% of your business’ customers have the potential to be VIP whales. You can build on this relationship with future VIP customers by offered tiered pricing where they feel special and far away from the cheapest prices. You can also grow your VIP customer base by changing your website and making it more friendly for higher-paying clients – integrate this with your web hosting so you can reach more VIP clients.

Luxury priced concert tickets are a sign of the future of business

If you are wondering ‘why are concert tickets so expensive?’ perhaps you are asking the wrong question. The focus should be on why are people driven to be different from each other by separating themselves into VIP fields, and how can businesses reach these people more? I believe every single B2B business needs to target VIPs because they are easier to sell products to and you can collect emails for future sales. Any person who purchases a VIP concert ticket for $1,000 is someone that the concert promoter can contact in the future for other promotions.

The future of business lies in understanding what makes someone spend $10,000 instead of $100. You will spend the same amount of effort growing your mass market services compared to your VIP services. Add VIP services as an extra revenue stream by redesigning your website and improving your website loading speeds by choosing a better web host.

I am looking forward to watching the trends in concert ticket pricing and seeing how VIP concert tickets continue to be marketed by promoters. One thing is for sure, VIP products and services are going to continue to grow as people search for better experiences.



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