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One Direction vs. Kid Rock? This Summer's Ticket Tactics

Jesse Lawrence, founder and CEO, TiqIQ.com
Wednesday, 26 Jun 2013 | 12:54 PM ET
One Direction
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One Direction

The 2013 Summer Concert Season is officially underway... and there's another British invasion.

This time it's not the four lads from Liverpool (along with the likes of The Animals, The Kinks, and of course, The Rolling Stones) but a boy band juggernaut: One Direction.

Unlike our parent's version of the British Invasion, though, this year's will not stop with just the U.S. This year, the invasion is seeking complete world domination. It is also giving rise to a clash in ticket pricing strategy.

One Direction's "Take Me Home" Tour is a mega-tour of 120 shows spanning 8 months, crossing through North America, Mexico, and Europe. The tour is expected to produce massive profits for their record label—owned by another famous Brit: American Idol-XFactor's Simon Cowell. It started last week in Sunrise, Florida at the BB&T Center.

The average price to see the first show on U.S. soil was $674, good only for the 23rd most expensive music show of the summer. But One Direction also has the top show of the summer, $1,417 on July 4 in Montreal.

Indeed, of the top 50 shows by average price, 34 are for One Direction Tickets. That's a 68 percent share of the top 50 concerts this summer. (In the far distance behind 1D are the old British stalwarts, the Rolling Stones, with seven of the top 50 shows).

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The primary American response to this barrage has been to spend money as if the world is ending. For many thousands of teens, it surely would if they missed the tour. As a result, three One Direction shows have an average price of over $1,000 and nine have an average price above $750.

When you factor in merchandise and concessions, you'll be lucky to escape your local arena with anything left to retire on. Of course, this is all lost on the young, for whom this is a moment and band like no other.

Before you throw in the towel completely,though, there is hope, and it's led by two unlikely allies: Beyoncé and Kid Rock.

As you now know, Beyoncé is half of the most powerful couple in music, if not all of entertainment. Like the Stones, Beyonce tickets account for seven of the top 50 shows. The most expensive of these is for her July 23rd show in Boston, the site of the famous Boston Tea Party. The cheapest leg of the "Mrs. Carter Show" is in Oklahoma City on July 5th. What better way to celebrate your disapproval of the Brits than a $24 Beyoncé ticket to kick off July 4th weekend? (Her top ticket price, though, is $836.)

Kid Rock
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Kid Rock

The real revolution for summer music, however, is coming out of Detroit, and being led by the most American of acts: Kid Rock.

Kid Rock's "Rebel Soul Tour", which kicks off on June 28, made ticketing history when he announced that the entire tour would be priced at the flat rate of $20.

To make up for the lost ticket revenue, Kid Rock will also share in food, beverage and parking revenue with Live Nation. Beers are priced to move at $4 and tickets can be purchased at Wal-Mart.

It's Americana commerce at it's finest, and it is will be interesting to see how the tactic works out for both parties. If successful, others tours will surely follow suit, and it could have a significant impact on how much it costs ours kids to see summer concerts in the future.

While we're waiting, though, we can enjoy listening to Kid Rock's 2008 Anthem 'All Summer Long' under the open air for as low as $18 (on the secondary market) while sipping on more than a few $4 beers. Now that's American ingenuity at its finest.

—Jesse Lawrence is founder and CEO of TiqIQ.com, an event ticket search engine. Jesse started his career as a writer covering the Silicon Alley and now covers the event and ticket market.

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