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You can’t always get what you want

Following from the news that the cheapest seat available to see The Rolling Stones next month is £106, Catherine Ross questions whether these prices are justifiable

It was the 1960s when The Rolling Stones claimed the title of “the greatest rock and roll band of all time.” No one disagreed with them then and fifty years later many still don’t. Rolling Stone magazine named them the fourth greatest artist of all time, only The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Elvis beat them to the top spot. They’ve sold 250 million albums worldwide, five times the number of Katy Perry, Rihanna and Justin Bieber combined. Their supremacy is unquestionable. But does this give them the right to sell concert tickets at the extortionate fee of £106 per seat? (And they’re the cheapest ones.) This is a question that is still up in the air.The Stones last toured in 2007, with 147 different venues, they played in front of an astonishing 45 million people in 32 countries in two years, an impressive record by anyone’s standards but the tickets were measurably cheaper, averaging at about £60 a seat. Now with a combined age of 273 the band expects much more for their efforts.

Their 50th anniversary tour (50 & Counting: The Rolling Stones Live) which takes place later this year has drawn outrage from the public and many a raised eyebrow from fellow musical artists. The lead singer of Keane Tom Chaplin asked “Haven’t they got enough money already?” With Mick Jagger having an estimated personal wealth of £190 million, the answer is a resounding yes, but this does not stop them charging over £800 for prime tickets. Sir Mick Jagger commented on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row “Well, I know it’s a lot, really, but there seems to be a demand and that’s good.” He finished by saying, “I’m not going to get into it any further.”

Other musicians agree. The Manic Street Preachers lead singer James Dean Bradfield said “They’re above and beyond reproach, they exist in absolute isolation from everybody else, it’s impossible to judge them and it’s impossible to take any standards off them. They really are an institution, not even in the bad sense of that word. They just are what they are.” And that is true. There is no other band like The Rolling Stones in existence today, with Hendrix dead, the Beatles disbanded and one half deceased there is no act on earth comparable. It is this god like status that allows them to price their tickets so highly. Says dark rock legend Alice Cooper: “For the Stones, I would pay anything. You know, they’re the Stones.” Perhaps Cooper’s statement indicates the disconnection between rock and roll royalty and their fans – with rock superstars raking in the millions every year it is difficult for them to comprehend the inability for working and middle class fans to buy a ticket. Who knows if the show will be worth £106, but if anyone wants to buy me a ticket I’ll be sure to let you know.

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