The goal of any business is to make a profit. Even in an industry like electronic music where community vibes are held to the utmost standard, the labels and artists you adore need to make money, whether they voice that fact or not. ID&T’s founder, Duncan Stutterheim, recently said at a the annual Noorderslag Seminar in Groningen (the annual ‘meet & greet’ of the Dutch music industry) that the top DJs are becoming too expensive for even the top festivals to stay profitable.
Because of the boom in electronic music in the U.S., clubs and festivals in Europe are having to raise their prices to keep up with the rising costs of booking the most popular DJs and producers. This creates an infinite loop where managers and artists charge more money for shows, shows charge more money for tickets, and because tickets are rising in price, artists and managers think they can charge more for shows. Don’t get me wrong, the very last thing we need is any sort of regulation, but the market will eventually correct itself and it will eventually reach a point where either the clubs/festivals won’t pay as much for the talent or the fans won’t be willing to pay as much for the tickets. Even the $500 ticket for Ultra last year was met with huge backlash and derision.
Though even Stutterheim makes an analogous comparison to the “1%” in America.
“The most popular 10% receive 90% of the pie. Of course, they make music and do it well. But it must remain in balance, which is now gone. It now is about so much money, that everything has changed. It also comes at the expense of the festival experience. At those high wages remains less over for good sound, lighting and decoration. That makes festivals less attractive. “
Stutterheim points to ID&T’s parent company SFX for the exorbitant prices, citing festivals like Ultra and EDC for they large mass-appeal and large price tags. He says their own festivals like TomorrowWorld and Mysteryland don’t go for the absolute top-tier DJs and so are able to avoid those high prices.