Prince tickets for $250, Bon Jovi for $475: How much is too much for concert tickets in 2013?

As we announced earlier today, tickets to Prince’s four Ogden Theatre shows in May are $250 apiece, plus fees (equaling $27ish each ticket).

Some fans snatched up tickets instantly, taking ownership of the opportunity to see a pop legend in a 1,700-capacity club. Others immediately took to the Internet to hate on the admittedly high ticket prices, balking that such a show could ever be worth that kind of money.


Which camp are you in? Are the shows priced too high or just right?

The best way to find out: Pull up now. (Yeah, tickets are already on sale.) Put a couple tickets in your basket. (There are still tickets left, at least there were when this was posted on Friday.) And there’s the gun-to-your-head scenario: Will you spend $277 on a single concert ticket?

Real talk: Is $250 per ticket a lot? Yes, it is. But is it really all that outlandish? I don’t think so. And here’s why.

Prince is a true legend who hardly tours. When he does come through Colorado, he normally plays the Pepsi Center or Fiddler’s Green – both 18,000ish-seat spaces. He’s at that level. So let’s compare him to other rockers playing at that level. How about Bon Jovi, since they’re playing the Pepsi Center on April 16.

Ticket prices for Bon Jovi’s upcoming Denver show range from $19.50-$475. True, you can sit in the nosebleeds for cheap. But if you’re up front, you’re paying $475, almost twice the Prince rate. Heck, the average of Bon Jovi’s low and high prices, $19.50 and $475, is $247.25 – just a couple dollars off Prince’s price point.

And that’s for Bon Jovi.

Surely the Rolling Stones will announce a tour in the coming months/years, and just wait for those prices; Mick, Keith and the boys are known (and celebrated in a really perverse way, even) for pushing the limits of taste and excess when it comes to their exorbitant ticket prices.

Some artists refuse to play that game. Look at Bruce Springsteen, who is arguably a bigger deal than Prince and Bon Jovi combined and rarely lets his ticket prices rise to the point of absurdity. And kudos to him. But the reality of today’s oft-broken music industry is that artists, promoters and venues will be charging premium prices for their best tickets.

And when Prince is playing a small venue like the Ogden, every ticket is one of their best tickets.

Is $250 a lot of money for a concert ticket? Yes, regardless of who’s playing. But is it too much for a ticket to see Prince play a 1,700-capacity club? Nope.

And if Prince delivers four appallingly great sets of pop, funk and beyond (as only he can), there’s a chance many concertgoers will leave the Ogden in May telling their friends that it was “worth every penny” – worth every one of those 27,700 pennies.

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Ricardo Baca is the founder and executive editor of Reverb, the co-founder of The UMS and an award-winning critic and editor at The Denver Post.