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Dean M
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March 20, 2023
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Why I won’t be seeing Beyoncé on Renaissance tour

Renaissance, Beyoncé’s latest accomplishment, scored the Best Dance/Electronic album award at the 2023 Grammys. Of course, new album means new tour, and who doesn’t want to see Beyoncé live? The iconic pop star has such a magnetic charisma that translates into her elaborate concert performances; even casual fans might fall in love with her on stage.

Despite this tour filling up huge stadiums and arenas, I was still quite shocked at the investment. To keep it short, I wasn’t exactly endeared with the ticket prices. Even the bad seats were still unaffordable. And if you have to travel to the concert, the hole in your wallet is even deeper.

What happened to just going to see a concert, and enjoying your time there? In this economy, it’s hard to conceive that such a pleasure could be become unattainable.

Why are concert tickets so expensive?
This isn’t exactly Beyoncé’s fault, nor is the Beyhive the only fandom facing this issue (remember the Taylor Swift fiasco not-so-long ago?). Concert goers have been dealing with increasing show prices from ticket platform services since the 90s. This is due to various hidden fees that are added onto an already 100+ dollar ticket, raising the prices by 15-20%… and only appear at the checkout page.

Ticketmaster, the largest ticketing platform, explains that the ticket fees are “determined in collaboration with [their] clients”1, encompassing different categories of fees meant to compensate for the platform’s handling of ticket distribution and the venue’s hosting. They explain that concert attendees will view the ticket’s face value, which depends on the artist, and does not include the other agents involved in the organization of a concert.

Unfortunately, although being transparent about the price upfront is better for the customer, it requires all ticketing platforms to do it to be fair. As eager customers make it to the checkout page, they are already committed to the purchase; if they see a higher price upfront, but a lower one somewhere else as it is omitting hidden fees, they will likely be swayed by the latter.

Queer culture, artistry, poverty
Although this definitely sucks on an individual scale, it has a bigger messaging when we look at its impact through a broader lens. Who has access to concerts? Who is allowed to be a die heart fan? Who is allowed to participate in the artistic experiences and be a part of cultural moments?

The capitalism around art shapes consumers’ ability to engage with it, so socio-economic status cannot be excluded from this conversation. Moreover, looking at wealth in relation to sexual orientation is even more so relevant.

Gay men and bisexual men and women have shown, over the past decade, to consistently make less money than their heterosexual counterparts in the United States2. This becomes even more nuanced when considering an intersectional approach: UCLA’s School of Law estimates that around 25% of African American women in same-sex couples currently live in poverty in the US3. The people most excluded from concerts due to their increasing fare are those already marginalized.

Is Renaissance really meant for queer people?
Queer people of color not having access to certain forms of entertainment is one thing, but considering black queer culture’s influence onto Renaissance makes it even harder to swallow. The answer to this problem isn’t clear - and the musical artist isn’t the one necessarily with the most control either - but it’s important for artists to recognize the great lengths by which their fans will sacrifice to share space with them, when they relate and recognize themselves in their art.

In the case of Renaissance, the problem is glaring: Beyoncé placed a hefty consideration onto considering the black queer roots of her album by working with and representing queer artists in the album, writing and speaking openly about its message and inspiration, especially as the United States is politically causing tensions on LGBTIQ+ rights. This shows that the conception of this album was carefully thought through. It’s why its inaccessibility to the fans that it welcomes and celebrates the most is so disheartening.


Images courtesy of Beyonce and Carlijn Jacobs

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