Dear Rolling Stones,
As we're sure you're aware, a little ripple of joy went through crowds of music fans the world over recently when you announced you were about to tour again. We were a little perturbed to find out that Mick Jagger has started dancing in front of a mirror in preparation, but that's by the by. (Seriously Mick, my conservative great aunt could do an awesome re-creation of your strut at this point -- what are you studying, exactly?)
You probably didn't see us complaining about your ticket prices in early April, when tickets for your Oakland and San Jose shows on May 5 and May 8, respectively, went on sale, but we were pretty disgusted with you then, as we're sure many of your fans were.
Well, now we've just had it confirmed from an article on Business Insider that this tour is "one of the most expensive ever". Those Business Insider people calculated that the cheapest average ticket price for the Stones on this tour was $806. The average price, in America, for one of your tickets this time around is $1260, they say. That isn't just inflated -- it's some week-in-the-sun-vacation kind of money. And its especially interesting considering that your last tour raked in $558 million, making it the second highest-grossing concert tour of all time.
The article said that the cheapest face price for a ticket to see a Stones concert on the current tour is $143. We know that's for some shitty nosebleed seat that reduces you all to a pile of geriatric dots, and we know, of course, that that's before any pocket-rape handling fees have been thrown in. Are you aware that venues of the size you're playing routinely charge $30-50 for a parking space for the evening? Are you in touch with the real world at all at this point? Or how much the average American makes in a year?
As we said, we know the deal these days. We know that due to rampant downloading, no one makes money selling records anymore. The cost of concert tickets and merch prices have gone through the roof to pick up the financial slack. We get it. But we also get that the average person can't afford to go to as many concerts as they used to, and that bums us out. You guys just made things infinitely worse.
We've always understood how you Rolling Stones were with your cash (we all know how you moved to France in the '70s because you didn't feel like paying high British taxes anymore) but you are all -- as you would say in your own country -- more than taking the piss at this point.
Your fortunes were made pre-downloading. You were making loads of money from music for decades before the shit hit the fan. You are all multi-millionaires, several times over because of it. So you can't use that as an excuse.
We also aren't particularly interested in hearing about how, because this is a shorter tour, you need to make money faster. How is your own unwillingness to do more dates the fault of the fans? Why should we have to pay more for you to do less?
We're not saying you're not a great band. We believe you still put on a great show. You are bonafide legends. But ticket prices this high from a band already sitting on so much cold, hard cash says one thing and one thing only -- you guys no longer have any concept of the value of a dollar, so you don't care how much strain you're putting on your own fans, or what kind of precedent you are setting.
We wish your fans weren't so dedicated, Rolling Stones. We wish you were going to arrive at half-empty arenas every night and see the error of your ways. That won't happen because music fans -- Rolling Stones fans -- are dedicated to what they love.
I saw you in 1990, Rolling Stones, in the U.K.'s Cardiff Arms Park. My parents literally had to talk me into going because I was 12 and you weren't Guns 'N' Roses. My parents were able to drag me along because the tickets were, if memory serves, £20 (about $30) and they considered it an investment worth making. The concert opened my eyes to what an incredible band you were, and I was grateful to have gone in the end. It's a shame that reluctant kids won't get the same musical education I was fortunate enough to enjoy, because of bands like you making it impossible.
In short, Rolling Stones, you just turned rock 'n' roll into an elitist past-time. Here's hoping your inflated bank balances help you live with that.