Prince keeps things affordable at the Forum at $25, but how close does that get you?
Let's face it. The live music business is one that fans and media approach with a skeptical eye, albeit one that's deserved after years of increasing ticket fees, last-minute fire sales and ticketing systems that seemingly play into the hands of the secondary market. So, when artists and promoters do something right, such as Prince offering about 85% of the house at $25 a pop -- a figure that includes service fees -- a hearty well-done is in order.
Three of Prince's 21 Los Angeles dates went on sale this morning, and if anyone was curious as to how a superstar such as Prince could price more than half the Forum at $25, the answer looked to be apparent as soon as one went to make a purchase. There were, of course, the $25 all-in tickets, but the next tier was a drastic hike. Those who wanted to guarantee a seat outside the Forum's upper deck (the colonnade section) would have to spring for a $205 ticket.
What's more, those $205 tickets were running deep into the Forum's loge section. If one wanted to ensure one of the absolute best seats in the Forum, Ticketmaster directed you to its Platinum Ticket section, which offered premium loge seats for as high as $450.
But again, there is good news in all this, as Pop & Hiss is not interested here in criticizing an artist for pricing more than 80% of the house at $25. A spokeswoman for promoter Live Nation confirms that there are in fact loge seats available for $25, and those are, no doubt, among the first to go. So those who are gambling on snaring better seats for one of Prince's forthcoming 18 gigs, there is hope, although what percentage of the loge is selling for $25 is unknown.
On the other extreme, however, Prince die hards who perhaps wanted to sit near the floor or close to it could surely forget about anything under a few hundred bucks. Any searches lower than the loge were turning up packages that started at $526 and ran to $781.
So yes, the majority of Prince seats come at the low cost of $25, and hopefully more artists are watching and will follow suit. Yet the excitement that a superstar would be selling $25 tickets is tempered a bit by the fact that the best seats are drastically higher, and there's seemingly no middle ground.
Or perhaps it's simply an honest reflection of the American economy, with studies showing that the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen. In that case, Prince can quote John Lennon at the gigs, as the Beatle once famously asked those in the cheap seats to clap their hands while instructing the rest to "rattle your jewelry."
-- Todd Martens
Photo: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times