“14 is the new 10”

Gig Tickets, by Flickr user Limowreck666

Gig Tickets, by Flickr user Limowreck666

Do you ever catch yourself listening to a conversation (or, in this example, the radio) and something is said that grabs you and sticks in your brain and you can’t shake it out?

On Sunday August 3rd, on Sound Opinions (Sunday nights on The Current … quite possibly the best music show on the radio today), the hosts had special guests Sean Agnew, Mitchell Franks, and Jake Szufnarowski.  These three guys are smaller venue rock show promoters from around the country and have seen the ups and downs of decades of promotions and shows.

(Sidenote: As they talked, it became clear that in the music promotion business, not unlike the wine business, the bigger guys are getting bigger — and as we know bigger isn’t always better — and the smaller guys that keep their heads about them are getting creative, working with modern business models, and starting to have the time of their lives.  A classic David and Goliath story.  Quite interesting. Click here for footnotes on the entire show.)

Anyway, I regret that I don’t know which person said it, but when he did it stuck to me:

“14 is the new 10.”

And what he was referring to is the shift in small show ticket prices that has happened just in the last few months.  Last year, charging $6 to see a show was a bad idea … people wondered if it’s going to be worth it, wondered if there is a good band on the roster, and wondered if they should go somewhere else.  But if you charged $10 you got a significantly higher rate of attendance and return, in addition to a higher class of attendees.  It became a win win for the band, the promoter, and the venue.  (The last time this price shift happened, according to this experienced promoter, was circa 1988).

All of the sudden, because of the shift in the cost of goods and transportation, $14 is the new $10.

So when figuring out the retail line up in your store, keep this story in mind.   Your customers may grumble, and of course there are still great bargains out there, but the baseline for quality has changed in value. And on wine lists, more so than anywhere else, don’t hesitate to put a $14 glass of wine out there.  It’s the new 10!

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