Concert tickets are becoming increasingly expensive, and the price hikes can be felt by all live music fans across the nation. From Taylor Swift fans suing Live Nation and Ticketmaster for their inadequate preparation for when tickets went live, to President Biden urging Congress to pass the Junk Fee Prevention Act- the price and process of getting concert tickets has been a hot topic in the news lately.
While the rising cost of concert tickets breaks the bank for most of us, it also mirrors the intersection of cultural capital and white privilege in the music industry. Concerts and live events are often seen as a form of cultural capital. Attending them is a valuable way to build social connections and expand one’s cultural knowledge. However, when ticket prices are too high, it can create a barrier to entry for those who cannot afford to attend. This can disproportionately impact people from marginalized communities, who may already face systemic economic barriers.
Historically, the music industry has been dominated by white individuals. These individuals hold positions of power and influence in determining who gets to perform, and who gets to attend concerts. This has created a system that privileges those who have the economic resources to afford high-priced concert tickets while excluding those who don’t.
Additionally, the music industry itself has a history of racial and economic inequality. For example, many popular music genres, such as rock and roll and country, have roots in Black and Indigenous music that was co-opted and popularized by white artists, leading to a legacy of cultural appropriation and erasure. This can contribute to a lack of diversity and representation within the industry, which can further limit access to live music for marginalized communities.
It is critical to recognize that access to live music is not just a matter of individual preference or consumer choice, but also a social justice issue. The music industry has a responsibility to promote equity, including in the pricing of concert tickets. This is to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to experience the benefits of live music. By addressing white privilege and promoting greater access and affordability, the music industry can work towards making live music an experience attainable for everyone, not just a select few.
Via Valenti, is a DE&I Strategy Consultant and resident Gen Z expert at GVC, an inclusion business strategy firm. To learn more visit diversitystrategy.com