Despite the rough economic times and the average consumer’s decreasing amount of disposable income, concert ticket sales are up on the secondary market. According to the annual report from secondary resale site StubHub, gross dollar sales and the number of ticket transactions on the site increased by 40 percent from 2007.

The recently released report attributes the increase in gross sales not only to the volume of ticket transactions (with tickets bought and sold for 11,220 individual concert events), but also to the average price of the tickets bought. The average price of tickets purchased in 2008 was $159, up three dollars from 2007’s average of $156.

Madonna, who selected StubHub to be the Official Fan to Fan Ticket Marketplace for her concerts, was the highest grossing tour based on the site’s sale volume. Rounding out the top five in the category were the Jonas Brothers, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Coldplay.

The Queen of Pop’s international Sticky & Sweet tour also had the highest average resale price, coming at $306. While that average resale price might seem high, the actual face value for Madonna ducats wasn’t far from that and ranged from a high of more than $350 to a low of nearly $65. StubHub’s top five was filled by the Eagles ($234), Billy Joel ($224), Bon Jovi ($217) and AC/DC ($210).

“Despite the economic woes of the last few months and a lukewarm concert schedule for the year, ticket selling prices actually increased a bit from 2007,” noted Chuck La Vallee, StubHub’s head of Music Business Development, in a statement. “It speaks to the overall demand for live touring acts and despite challenging economic times, StubHub buyers are willing to invest in the experience they get for the price of admission.”

Yearly sales totals were not included in the report, but a press release for the 2007 report stated that concert ticket sales for the year exceeded $100 million. Depending on what the exact gross sales were for 2007, a 40 percent increase this year could put the company’s total sales in the ballpark of $150 million.

StubHub declined requests for quarterly and mid-year breakdowns, so the question remains whether business in the latter portion of 2008 was comparable to earlier in the year before the economy began to quickly unravel. Additional requests for a first quarter projection for 2009 were also turned down.

However, company spokesperson Vanessa Daniele, of Corporate Communications’s entertainment division, noted that the continued demand for concerts tickets even during an economically unstable year signal a continued shift in how consumers spend money.

“Live entertainment really is where the future of the business is,” she said in a recent interview with TicketNews. “It’s going to become the focus of the music industry, and people are beginning to realize that.”

The music industry has suffered financially in recent years as a growing portion of consumers prefer free (albeit illegal) downloads off the Internet over digital or physical purchases. However, Daniele explained that most concertgoers go to about two events each year and extensively plan which events to attend and save money expressly for their tickets.

“Not every artist goes on tour every year, and people do want to see their favorite artist when they do go on tour,” Daniele stated. “It’s almost like sports: If your team is in the Super Bowl, you’re going to find a way to go even if money is tight.”

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Last Updated on December 18, 2008