Classic rock is the most expensive music genre to watch live


Even though the music industry changes over time, classic rock will always have an important role in music history and in the hearts of fans around the world. Acts like Elvis Presley – the “king of rock and roll” himself – helped popularize the genre. And it continues to be loved by generations. In fact, classic rock remains the most expensive genre for fans to see live.

Queen’s Freddie Mercury | Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage

Classic rock is a staple of live concert tours

With many “oldie” radio stations now venturing into 1990s music – much to the chagrin of millennials – what qualifies as “classic rock” these days is up for debate. But in general, rock musical acts whose prominence dates back to the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s are definitely eligible. And a recent study by Finance Buzz highlights the popularity of the genre in the 2020s.

According to the site, classic rock bands have attracted more than $3.5 billion in sales over the past five years. The genre has grossed less than pop music, which makes sense given that “pop” music – which has generated $5.2 billion over the same period – is typically designed for mass appeal. Classic rock and pop are even closer when it comes to revenue per tour, with $35.5 million and $38.6 million, respectively.

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In fact, the genre is the most expensive for fans

Finance Buzz’s recent insight into the live music industry went further. Although pop music can surpass classic rock in some respects, the latter still sets generally higher prices for concert tickets. The study looked at the top 800 touring bands from 2017 to 2021 and came to some bold conclusions about the ticket prices of classic rock bands compared to other genres.

Among its findings, Finance Buzz concluded that the average ticket for a classic rock artist was $119.14. That’s almost $20 less than the average pop music gig, which sits at $100.65. Similarly, rock and alternative concerts cost even less, with average prices of $85.94 and $63.54, respectively. And Christian Music has the cheapest option at under $40.

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This classic rock band dominates the highest-grossing tours

Thus, classic rock always attracts long-time fans and new ones alike. But which artists attract the most people? Ultimately, Bruce Springsteen’s nickname “The Boss” might as well apply to his ability to command premium ticket prices for his shows. An average ticket to his concert costs $508.93, significantly increased by his Springsteen on Broadway concert residence.

The Rolling Stones also enjoyed significant success on tour. The band boasts four of the 10 top-grossing classic rock tours since 2017. Other bands like Eagles, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, Journey and Def Leppard, and Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band filled the rest of the Top 10.

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