During a conversation on Wong Notes, Joe Bonamassa explained why he decided to raise his ticket prices because of all the expenses and tried to explain that over half of the ticket price goes to the government taxes and the musician’s manager while stressing that ‘extra cash flow‘ helps musicians reinvent themselves.
The blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa started his music career rather early at the age of 12 when he opened for B.B. King. He has released 15 solo studio albums since 2000 – most of them through his independent record label J&R Adventures – and 11 of them ranked No. 1 on the Billboard Blues charts.
Being such a successful musician, Bonamassa knows a thing or two about the music industry. In his recent interview, he talked about the ticket prices and tried to explain why fans should try to understand the increase. To begin with, Joe said that the managers often take 10-20% followed by the government’s 39% intake.
Joe said that the ideal model is to ‘have 100 people at $10 than 80 people at $20’ but the thing is that with the second option, you end up making more money. He went on to say that although money isn’t everything when it comes to music, it also helps artists invest in and reinvent themselves. Moreover, ‘if you want to see Michael Rhodes on the bass’ and Anton Fig on the drums then you have to pay more because ‘these guys don’t come cheap.’
Here’s what the interviewer said:
“Let’s do it with $100,000 in gross receipts for a concert. A typical deal might be a guarantee versus a percentage – like 50 or whatever, or maybe just a door deal. So right out of the gate, you sell $100,000, you walk away with $65,000. Then your booking agent takes 10%, so now you’re walking with $58,000, and then you had your expenses on that.”
And Joe Bonamassa responded:
“Your manager’s taking 10% or 20%, and then the government’s taking 39% – you got to count them in as a partner. And to use blues numbers, let’s start with a thousand dollars. Let’s use blues numbers here, keep it real for the kids. The model is – we’d rather have 100 people at $10 than 80 people at $20…
But where are you making more money? A hundred people at $10 is $1,000 at the door; 80 people at $20 is $1,600, and you’re making more money. And now again, I don’t want to sound like, ‘Well, it’s all about the dollars and cents.’
But having extra cash flow in the business of music allows you to reinvest in yourself, reinvest in your fans, going, ‘Hey, listen, I’m sorry we have to charge $20, but these lights are not free, and the gas to get us there is not free.’ You want to have Anton Fig on the drums? You want to have Michael Rhodes on the bass? These guys don’t come cheap…
They think those $20 you pay at the door, that every single dollar goes to the artist, which you know that it’s completely not true. And then you have the agents and the managers and everything else, it’s just less cash flow to reinvest into not only yourself but in your fans.”