Londonomics: Experimental Music

By Londonist Last edited 201 months ago

Last Updated 09 October 2007

Londonomics: Experimental Music

Once again the artists are out in front of the eggheads and politicians.

Earlier we covered tonight’s experiment in direct economic democracy at The Albany – effectively, attendees pay a £10 tax to join The Albany’s mini-society, and they all get a say on how the pot will be spent. Just imagine if council tax operated on the same basis!

If that weren’t enough financial excitement, tomorrow the new Radiohead download comes out – priced at an industry-shaking £??.

We can only hope the experiments spread. Take, for instance, a clear example of market failure: concert tickets. For the most popular bands, there are never enough to go around. Classical economics dictates that this should tend to drive prices up – however managers and promoters are loathe to boost prices above a certain level, rightly fearing that they will alienate large core audiences of ‘ordinary’ (ie not rich) fans.

The result is that gig tickets are regularly sold for less than they can command on the open market, and the touts move in to skim off massive profits.

Let’s apply a bit of creative thinking to next month’s Led Zeppelin reunion at O2. Tickets were £125 but even at that high price, they’re undervalued according to the bazaar that is Ebay.

What if the promoters sold the tickets for a lower price (say, £30) but made them transferable upon payment of a fee (say, half of the resale cost). Fans who get in early would be able to hold onto their cheaper tickets, while those who don’t could still pay more to see the band while eating into the profits of the touts.

Here’s another idea: half the tickets could go for £800 or some similarly outrageous price. The other half would be free. To make sure the free ones are going to ‘real’ fans, the tickets could be given away outside the arena on a date two weeks away. People would have to camp out, like the old days.

These are really just scribbled back-of-the-envelope ideas, so we’d love to hear your even better ones on how to make the process fairer.

By MikeW.