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Why are we paying so much for live shows?

9 Comments 03 April 2009

A topic that’s hardly fresh, granted, but it’s interesting to note Sam Smyth’s piece in the Indo on how the Government here have not been claiming tax from visiting acts. Here’s a snippet.

Top Irish bands cannot understand why they pay taxes when touring abroad but the Government does not levy taxes on international artists when they appear in Ireland. U2 Paul McGuinness said the retention tax was levied on touring artists in every other country and Louis Walsh manager of Boyzone and Westlife believes it has cost the Exchequer “hundreds of millions”. A spokesman for the Irish Department of Finance admitted last night they had not implemented a double taxation treaty on visiting artists that became law 33 years ago.

If this is the case why do we continue to pay exorbitant costs compared to countries who implement these tax charges?

Lets compare like with like. Tickets for Leonard Cohen’s concerts in The O2 this July go on sale next Tuesday morning, the cheapest tickets start at €90. Those shows take place on July 19 & 20. Less than a week beforehand he plays Liverpool’s Echo Arena. According to Ticketmaster, prices there start at £55, or €60.70 according to xe.com as of today, Friday April 3.

Bob Dylan’s worth a look too. He plays The O2 on May 6, tickets start at the general admission price of €49.80, but for London’s O2 they start at £37.50, or €41. Now, there is not that much of a price difference in this instance but yet again the crux of Sam Smyth’s piece must be remembered:

The Department of Finance have NOT been claiming the retention tax for visiting artists. Despite this, our concert ticket prices remain amongst the highest in Europe.

Which shifts the question to promoters who have cited high running costs in the past for the increased prices for Irish punters. Unfortunately the print media in this country, already suffering from the loss of revenue from ads for property, may not be willing to put that question to the companies who fill their entertainment supplements with ads and dish press passes to their reporters.

The natural progression from this revelation in the Indo is why exactly we pay more to see acts who are charged additional fees to appear in other countries? Unfortunatley there may not be anyone loud or influential enough who are willing to ask the questions.


- who has written 132 posts on Guess List.

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9 Comments so far

  1. Barry says:

    Very interesting, never actually knew that. Do MCD perhaps make ‘donations’ to the FF slush fund?

  2. Aaron says:

    oh what a surprise, our government losing obvious monies and being retards and monopolies like MCD raping the Irish consumer.

  3. Sean says:

    Love the way Aiken never get a mention and all the hate is directed at MCD.

  4. Joe says:

    Just want to point out that my post is not directed at any specific promoter. The 2 examples used were picked simply because they were ads in the paper in front of me at the time.

  5. Joe says:

    Another point I want to make is that the artist also has a say in the charges – could it be that opportunistic artists know hat they wont pay this tax on what they make here and push up their cut to make as much as possible?

    The point I’m making is that something’s up when our government are not charging this tax, yet we are paying more.


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