How many times have you heard someone say "music today just isn't what it used to be"? How about "modern music is junk" or "all of the music they play on the radio is terrible"? It seems that for every Lady GaGa or Kanye fan out there, there is an equally enthusiastic dissident of popular music.
Certainly, the rise of rap, R&B, and pop culture has made today's popular music drastically different from that of previous generations. Classic rock and Beatles pop has been replaced by auto-tune, excessive bass, and a distinctly electronic sound that many find too harsh or caustic. So, while it is undeniable that the younger generation of artists have a commanding hold on American media and record sales, SeatGeek wanted to know which musical "age" is actually most popular with today's concert-goers.
We decided to take a look at SeatGeek's top 100 most popular artists--a list based on a SeatGeek metric that takes into account, among other things, ticket price, tickets sold, and search frequency. We divided the artists in groups according to the decade in which they were born (for bands we used the average of all members' birth years) to determine which decade produced the greatest number of today's most popular artists. Finally we looked at the average ticket prices for each of these artist's concerts to come up with an average concert price by decade.
It turns out that the majority of today's most popular artists were born in the '70s. Now in their 30s and 40s, these artists include John Legend and Eminem and bands like Maroon 5, Coldplay, and The Backstreet Boys. Unsurprisingly, the 1960s, produced the second greatest number of SeatGeek's most popular artists, headed by Celine Dion and U2.
[See also: The Best Live Artists (by market demand)
However, our ticket price analysis told a different story. No including the 1920s (as Tony Bennet is the only artist from that time period), the decade which gave birth to today's most expensive concerts was clearly the '40s. While concerts of artists born in the 70s averaged $117 a ticket, 1940's artists averaged $169. Perhaps this is because artists born in the 40s, like Steely Dan, Paul McCartney, and Jimmy Buffet, have a slightly older fan base. Middle-aged men and women are undoubtedly willing to spend more money on a concert than teens or college students.
Overall, SeatGeek's analysis showed that the young artists who get the most radio and media attention are not actually the most "popular". Middle-aged musicians command a much greater hold on the concert-going population than the electronic, bass-booming new blood. In fact, the 1980's--the decade that gave birth to Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Lil Wayne--had the lowest price average per concert of any decade ($110).
To find tickets to concerts by all artists, young and old, visit us here at SeatGeek!
Photo credit to Hoong Wei Long via Flickr.