What's behind sky-high concert ticket prices?

Whether it's Justin Bieber or the Rolling Stones, fans today have to shell out big money for concert tickets. What's the reason for high ticket prices?

Iconic acts, over-the-top shows part of the issue, say industry experts

What's behind sky-high concert ticket pricing? 2:13

Whether it's Justin Bieber or the Rolling Stones that fans want to see in concert, they'll likely be paying dearly.

"At first, we only spent $350. Then, the next time, we spent $450," 16-year-old Bieber fan Cara Corbett and her best friend Tyra Bright told CBC News.

"This year, it was like $650 and I was like 'I'm done ... I'm not spending any more.'"

Back in the 1970s, a ticket to a Rolling Stones concert in Toronto cost around $8. Tickets for the band's upcoming Toronto stops on its 50th annversary tour start at $166.50, with the priciest spots listed for upwards of $600 a seat.

One explanation is that established acts like the Stones or Fleetwood Mac simply weren't as popular or considered iconic in decades past — and couldn't command as high a premium. There are acts that now rely on touring as their main source of revenue. 

Another problem is that many groups — from sponsors to resellers and brokers — get access to tickets before the general public.

However, according to ticket sales giant Ticketmaster, a major factor is the massive and elaborate shows that make up today's typical concert experience.

"[In the past, there were no] massive video screens and production elements," said Ticketmaster Canada executive Patti-Anne Tarlton. "Whereas you look at today: [they're] massive, massive live entertainment spectacles, really."

Aaron Saltzman reports.

Concerts of the past, which had much lower ticket prices, were not as elaborate as today's spectacles, according to Ticketmaster Canada executive Patti-Anne Tarlton. (CBC)