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How Much is Too Much?

Do you ever have "cheap" days? Ladies, I don't mean when you wear a micro mini and some plastic red pumps (and yes, I own both)... I mean, "cheap" as in financially aware.

My mom always called it "frugal."

Anyway, I helped my parents with a garage sale yesterday and it had me feeling cheap - and annoyed. We'll skip the annoyed part and go straight to the wallet.

I've been saying for awhile now that the price of everything is ridiculous. I mean, it cost me $40 to fill my eight gallon gas tank Thursday! It's now five bucks for a bowl of soup at the restaurant down the street and we all know the price of home heating and cooling is downright heinous.

I've never really paid much attention to gas prices before. I don't drive much - and when we go out of town, my husband sits behind the wheel. Yes, the gas money is out of the same account but I just never paid attention to how much we were literally burning... until now. When I filled up the tank in my tiny purple Kia, I had an epiphany: In many cases, it now costs more to actually drive to a concert than buy a ticket. Sure, my seats for Cruefest are more than the gas to get to Cincinnati, but when you consider how much it's going to cost to transport my crew to George Michael in's about a wash.

Even with gas prices the way they are, I still do and go where I want. I go out to eat, go shopping, take bass lessons and get my hair dyed every month. Of course, as the price of gas continues to does the cost of every other luxury I enjoy.

During the annual garage sale, I was subjected to the same negotiations as every year: people asking if I'd take a dollar for something marked ten. People want more for their money and are willing to try to make pennies stretch wherever possible.

At some point, the high cost of life is going to completely destroy the music industry. Literally, at some point we'll all ask "how much is too much?"

When will we start balking at $300 concert tickets and everything associated like $50 shirts, $20 parking and $9 beer?

The economic situation in America is getting a little grim, and this has me amazed that bands still try to tour the club circuit. Don't get me wrong, I love club shows. The crowds are small and therefore the chances of talking to the band members is very great. Still, I always wonder if the bands are actually making any money during these small gigs. If an L.A. based band gets in their van and drives all the way to Dayton, Ohio to play a have to admire their determination. Even playing a lot of clubs between L.A. and Dayton is still no guarantee of a comfortable living.

So, I ask you..."how much is too much?" At what point do you shut your wallet and say "no more" to music-related luxuries like CDs, concert tickets and band merchandise?




Reader Comments (10)

This why I can't afford to go to Rocklahoma =(
May 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
I confess to making an above average wage, but my answer is never. Music is one of the things that makes life worth living, if the show is on, I am going, if the CD comes out, I will buy it.
May 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I refuse to quit rocking! I will give up other luxuries before I will do that.

Rob Rockitt

May 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRob Rockitt
You think you've got it tough, in the UK the average price for a litre of petrol is £1.18 (2.36 usd) so my little Ford Fiesta is £35.00 to fil the tank (70 usd) before I get to a show.
Upon entering a venue, the merch stand operative will happily sell me a t-shirt for anything between £18-£25 (36 - 50usd) and an average beer is £3.50 - £4 (7-8usd).

I estimate that my forthcoming excursion to see Def Leppard & Whitesnake on a double headliner at Wembley Arena, London (an hour and a half away from home) will cost me about £100 (200usd) which will be 1x ticket, 1x tee, 4x beers, travel. Arse

It'd be easier to put a gun to my head and rob me properly
May 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWilksey
I guess it's a needs vs wants situation where the wants seem to always out weigh the needs.
May 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBillyKiss
ticket prices are out of control, there has to be a limit on how much they charge. plus , the gas prices are insane . i pay $4.04 a gallon. EVERYTHING is expensive. this country is in a lot of trouble. thanks . prez bush.
May 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterrob
I'll never give up buying cd's or concert tickets. I'll just skip a meal here or there, whatever it takes.

One way that I have adapted, and it's just more common sense than an economical crisis. I learned during Motley's Better Live Than Dead tour to not buy a shirt at the show. I got the tour book and a couple of posters. I picked out the shirt I wanted, and ordered it from the fanclub when I got home. It cost half the price it was selling for at the show. Of course this is because venues get so much of a percent of merch, so the bands naturally raise the price of the merch.

On a related note: I noticed the bootleg shirts in the parking garage were really good quality. It makes me wonder if the band has their crew selling these so they can make some extra merch money and bypass the venue's cut. Just a thought.
May 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRandy
I'll hopefully never have to shut my wallet to music-related purchases...but there are a few concerts this summer that I'm just not going to be able to make because of gas prices. I try to get merchandise off ebay to save a few dollars, and as far as CDs go, I just make the sacrifice, or I put them above new shoes/meals out/other luxuries.
May 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPlainJane
I wrote a column last year stating that my concert days might be over. Gas isn't the concern because I need that to get around but it was more the rising cost of ticket prices, etc.

I used to hit about 2 dozen shows a year ranging from clubs to arenas and I could afford it. Now ticket prices are out of hand, including all the Ticketmaster fees. I went to see Heaven & Hell last year at Mohegan Sun and the fees for the ticket were equal to more than half the actual ticket cost! I believe it was close to $90 total for a decent seat, and even though I had a great time seeing 3 good bands, it just seemed like too much. After grabbing a tank of gas for the ride (about an hour from my home in RI to Connecticut) and some McDs for the meal home, I blew over $125 and I didn't even buy merch!

Last night was the big Van Halen show in Providence and I skipped it. I had the money for a cheap seat (there are no bad seats at the Dunkin Donuts Center) and the time but I didn't want all the extra hassles: fees, parking, maybe a shirt. a $75 ticket would have doubled with all the extras.

I have 4 shows on the list for the summer: Iron Maiden, Heaven & Hell/Judas Priest, Cruefest, & the Rockstar Energy Drink tour. I've already dumped the idea of heading to Boston for the Poison/Dokken/Bach show and I'm also not driving to Hampton Beach, NH for Cinderella/Warrant/Lynam show. Both places and shows would be mandatory for the concert season, now I have to be choosey. I'm probably killing off the Rockstar tour and maybe Cruefest. I've seen Crue on every tour since Girls, Girls, Girls and I've seen Buchcherry twice so the priority will be for Maiden & Priest.

Another reason to be choosey is that KISS might announce U.S. dates. KISS is my fave band and I usually hit every New England show (sometimes 4 or 5 stops). This year I might only be able to hit a couple and I would gladly sacrifice another tour for a couple KISS shows.

As far as CDs go, I could never give up buying CDs. I buy on sale the week of release or I stock up on used titles and look for Ebay deals. You can always find what you want, when you want, and at a decent price if you shop around.

Heavy Metal Addiction
don't you guys have something like public transportation? save gas and money
May 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRockfighter

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