Coachella Ticket Gross sales Have been Slower Than Normal, However Different Festivals Are Seeing a Dip Too


After months of public handwringing over sluggish ticket gross sales, the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts pageant opens Friday (April 12) close to Palm Springs with an anticipated attendance of practically 200,000 followers over two weekends, sources inform Billboard, promoting roughly 80% of the 250,000 tickets obtainable for buy this 12 months. 

How the shortfall will impression the pageant’s backside line is unclear, however the sources near the pageant say the dip in gross sales, down 14%-17% over final 12 months, shouldn’t be as dangerous as many had predicted. The primary weekend of the pageant has traditionally offered out of tickets in just a few hours, however this 12 months, it took practically a month for tickets to the primary weekend to promote out. 

Coachella stays the most-attended and highest-grossing annual pageant in North America, beating out Austin Metropolis Limits — which can be unfold out over two weekends with an attendance capped at 75,000 folks per weekend — and Electrical Daisy Carnival on the Las Vegas Speedway, which noticed attendance max out at greater than 130,000 in 2022. 

Coachella can be the biggest media platform within the pageant area, drawing in an enormous viewership due to its partnership with YouTube and the lots of of media credentials it assigns to main information retailers who present nonstop protection. In January, Gwen Stefani’s supervisor Irving Azoff instructed Billboard that one of many causes No Doubt determined to stage their 2024 reunion efficiency at Coachella was as a result of consideration the pageant attracted globally.  

However Coachella’s dimension and cachet doesn’t make it proof against the challenges going through a lot of the pageant business. Quite a few widespread festivals set for the second quarter of 2024 — New Orleans’ JazzFest, which runs from April 25 to Could 5, together with L.A.’s Seaside Life pageant in early Could and Daytona Seaside’s famed Welcome to Rockville pageant Could 9-12 — haven’t offered out of tickets, for instance. Different widespread occasions later within the 12 months, like Governors Ball in New York (June 7-9), Electrical Forest (June 20-23) and Lollapalooza (Aug 1-4), which used to promote out days after happening sale, haven’t offered out both. 

There’s little settlement on why gross sales have slowed. Ticket brokers used to purchase up hundreds of tickets to flip for revenue on websites like StubHub, however gross sales quantity for occasions like Coachella or Lollapalooza have dropped considerably in recent times because the markup potential has dwindled away.  

Reserving brokers from main companies representing A-list expertise have begun arguing that festivals must create extra profitable monetary incentives to draw higher headliners, whereas many impartial brokers hyperlink the decline to cost will increase which have made tickets unaffordable. 

Ticket costs for Coachella elevated $50 from 2022, when three-day GA passes value $449, to $499 in 2024, a rise of about 11%. In 2019, previous to the pandemic, three-day GA passes have been priced at $429. 

Reserving agent JJ Cassiere, co-founder of impartial reserving company 33rd and West, says pageant followers are extra delicate to cost will increase than they’ve been prior to now, particularly youthful followers who’re seeing their spending energy eaten away by inflation. 

“I’m very involved in regards to the followers who’re discovering themselves priced out of the market,” Cassiere tells Billboard, noting that even a $20 worth enhance is usually a make-or-break hike for some followers.  

Different brokers blame the dip in gross sales on headliner expertise, arguing that the 2024 pageant headliner pool — which, for Coachella, contains Lana Del Rey, Tyler the Creator, Doja Cat and No Doubt — doesn’t generate the identical enthusiasm that touring artists like Taylor Swift and Beyoncé did in 2023. 

The pageant’s lineup is an indication “that Coachella and practically all different pageant bookers had restricted choices when it got here to expertise,” says one reserving agent who has labored with the pageant for over a decade and requested to talk anonymously for this text. “The variety of artists eager to tour round festivals this 12 months could be very small.” 

For a lot of the 2010s, festivals have been in a position to pay headlining artists as a lot as 50% greater than artists would make headlining their very own enviornment excursions — in spite of everything, festivals typically charged extra for tickets, drew a lot bigger crowds and coated a lot of an artist’s manufacturing prices. That started to alter in 2016 and 2017, explains agent Jared Arfa with IAG, as ticketing firms like Ticketmaster and AEG AXS started specializing in the sum of money that scalpers have been making promoting tickets at massive markups. To assist shut the hole and seize that income for artists, Arfa says, Ticketmaster and others started utilizing packages like dynamic pricing and platinum to strategically enhance the worth of higher-demand tickets — comparable to front-row seats — and considerably enhance how a lot artists have been making at their very own concert events.  

The outcome has been an enormous enhance in worth, with the highest 10 excursions of 2023 incomes a median of $5.7 million per present in comparison with 2017, when the highest 10 excursions have been averaging $3.6 million per present — a 58% enhance in solely six years. 

“The difficulty for each pageant now’s that dynamic pricing is so good and prevalent that any artist large enough to headline a pageant is extra motivated to only headline their very own exhibits,” one agent tells Billboard, noting {that a} headlining slot at Coachella in 2024 is much less of a monetary determination and extra about artists “who’re on their manner up and must make a press release.” 

“Sooner or later,” the agent continues, “festivals want to regulate to accommodate this altering actuality, by both paying headliners extra or reserving stronger undercards — however that’s not simple.” 

Whereas headliners are necessary, Peter Shapiro with Brooklyn Bowl and Day Glo Ventures says spending extra on expertise isn’t all the time a viable long-term answer and notes that the perfect investments pageant producers could make are of their pageant neighborhood and total expertise. 

“Folks attend festivals as a result of they get pleasure from an out of doors expertise with different followers in a setting that feels snug,” Shapiro says. “That gained’t change and the extra organizers can put money into enhancing that have, the extra it would repay within the years forward.” 


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