Barbra Streisand: The Ultimate Market Failure

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Italians appeal to the little-known Law of Just Price for Barbra Streisand Tickets:

Italian consumer groups are up in arms over what they say are "immorally high" ticket prices being charged by organizers for Barbra Streisand's June 15 European debut at Rome's Stadio Flaminio.

Tickets for the concert start at around 200 euros (270 dollars), with the best seats selling for more than 900 euros.

"Organizers of the Streisand concert are charging more than three times what other big stars like the Rolling Stones and Justin Timberlake are doing. This is unfair towards the young and the less well off," Codacons spokesman Stefano Zerbi told Deutsche Presse-Agentur, DPA, on Wednesday.

"We wouldn't have a problem if the concert was taking place in a private building. But because the stadium is a publicly-owned structure, the city's officials are acting as accomplices to this form of discrimination," Zerbi said, adding that his organization had not yet received a response from city officials.

Whole thing here.

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  1. I’m sure Ms. Streisand has a justifiable reason for those prices.

    She’s probably buying her carbon credits from a legit outfit, rather than paying herself like Al Gore does.

  2. My mother told me there are no real monsters, but there are.

  3. Do that many young people really want to see her?

  4. I’m sure that Barbra Streisand will remind fans that the law of supply and demand, one of the hallmarks of her beloved system of capitalism, is the reason she must charge such high ticket prices.
    And then she’ll break out into a rendition of “Hot for Teacher.”

  5. Do that many young people really want to see her?

    It depends upon their level of fabulousness — er, I mean appreciation of Barbra.

  6. If I wrote the headlines:

    People, People who bleed people…

  7. I dare say, her high ticket prices might also reflect the prices some people would be willing to pay not to see her.

  8. Any amount to see Barbra Streisand is too much. Yeah, I said it.

  9. Attending Barbara’s (or anyone else’s concert for that matter) concert is a privilege, not a right. I’m sure her organizer has paid for the use of the stadium the going market rate, and that the tickets were priced to ensure maximum revenue. If the price proves to be wrong the people suffering the most will be Barbara and her organizer, not people who didn’t attend the concert.

  10. The way we were it i$.

  11. I’m just pleasantly shocked that a consumer group anywhere would suggest, unprompted, that there might be some important distinction between a concert at a publicly owned venue and a private venue.

  12. There’s an error in the headline; the word “market” is clearly gratuitous and should be removed.

  13. Joker beat me to the punch

  14. Just to be pedantic, the definition of market failure is not, “The market didn’t do what I want.”

  15. there was a time when romans couldn’t put too high a price on the wailings of aged combatants and the clamour of worn battleaxes

  16. Au contraire, MikeP. The definition of any kind of failure is “it didn’t do what I want.”

  17. Please please PLEAAAASE make a grandstanding statement about Bush and his “tax cuts for the rich” during the concert.

  18. How is it unfair to younger and poor people that they’re more able to see the Rolling Stones than Barbara Streisand? Furthermore, why should the people involved in the production of a concert be expected to subsidize ticket scalpers with lower prices than people are willing to pay?

  19. there was a time when romans couldn’t put too high a price on the wailings of aged combatants and the clamour of worn battleaxes.

    I don’t know about y’all, but I’d pay top dollar to watch Streisand in a gladiatorial match up.

  20. People, People who bleed people…

    No Star wins the thread.

    Dude, you could ski off of Babs nose and, BTW, I thought she left the country after GWB was elected.

    I’ll refrain from pointing out, as several others have already done so, that most Justin Timberlake fans don’t even know who the heck she is anyway.

    I’m sure that Barbra Streisand will remind fans that the law of supply and demand, one of the hallmarks of her beloved system of capitalism, is the reason she must charge such high ticket prices.

    And why it’s okay for her to cross union picket lines.

    And finally, anybody who wants to see a Babs concert deserves to be fleeced. 🙂

  21. You people don’t understand. If they lower the ticket prices, then more fans will be able to fit into the stadium. QED.

  22. This is definitely a case where the fans and the artiste deserve one another.

    I agree Nostar wins the thread.

  23. This is one half perfect – it is a transfer of money from the stupid and the tasteless. Sadly though it is not a transfer to either me or my research, and hence not a transfer to the worthy.

  24. I’m just pleasantly shocked that a consumer group anywhere would suggest, unprompted, that there might be some important distinction between a concert at a publicly owned venue and a private venue.

    Don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll forget that distinction as soon as it doesn’t serve their ends any longer.

  25. I don\’t know about y\’all, but I\’d pay top dollar to watch Streisand in a gladiatorial match up.

    That got me thinking. Here\’s how I envision it:

    It would be a 3-way matchup.

    Rosie O\’Donnell in the heavily armed Murmillo role, with heavy shield and curved helmet, versus 2 lightly armed opponents in the form of Kelly Clarkson and Barbara Streisand; both in the role of Retarius, a lightly armed Gladiator who fights with nets and a trident.

    If the Streisand/Clarkson combo manage to kill the heavily armed Rosie, they would then fight eachother until one wins by killing the other.

    The winner would then be crucified.

    Thus we ensure a delightful win/win situation for all. I\’d defeinitely pay to see that.

    *Wikipedia was consulted in the making of this comment.

  26. PLS

    I prefer “Lions 3, Annoying Loudmouth Stars 0.”

    Of course, as a child, I always cheered for the predators while watching “Nature.”

  27. Does this mean Italy will drop the high prices on its finer wine, sports cars and clothing? I mean, have you tried to buy a Lamborghini lately? We poor non-multimillionaires are being discriminated against!

  28. Seems like an excellent idea to me. When a stadium is built with public funds, ticket prices are set by popular vote. Sports teams would stop extorting the construction of new stadiums almost overnight…

  29. The Italians are clearly missing the inherent justice here: anyone paying $300 to $1,000 to go see Barbara Streisand is going to get what they deserve.

  30. I, um, actually kind of like Barbra Streisand’s music. (yes, I’m gay. fuck off.) It doesn’t suprise me that her ticket prices are so high, compared to such class acts as Justin Timberlake. Here’s why: she’s being backed by a 60-piece orchestra. Please tell me how you’re going to pay them if the ticket prices aren’t high. Good tickets to a symphony are usually pretty pricey. Not Streisand pricey, but still pricey. Based on that, I don’t see what the big deal is.

    I forgot, though, hating on Barbra is one of straight men’s most cherished pasttimes. Carry on.

  31. You people don’t understand. If they lower the ticket prices, then more fans will be able to fit into the stadium. QED.

    Yeah! And when it’s jam-packed, they lock up all the exits and hose the place down with lighter fluid …
    ————————-

    excimer: It’s cool. If you’re new here, know that philosophically most of us support Streisand’s right to charge as much as she can get people to pay. And generally we oppose the idea of anyone forcing her to charge less.

    However, Streisand is a big loud lefty, and they aren’t so big on economic freedom. It’s the spectacle of seeing the biter bit that has us wheeling and whooping like blood-drinking flying monkeys.

    PS: One of my friends (straight male) is a Streisand fan. I think it has something to do with the fact that he lived in Las Vegas for a while. He likes Wayne Newton too.

  32. This is unfair towards the young and the less well off

    As someone who is young and less well off, let me say that this concern is something of a phantom menace. I usually worry more about which of my government-enforced-monopoly-utility bills I’m going to pay so I can still afford to buy tax-inflated gasoline to get to my public-funding-glutted school.

    Babs concert? I’ll just DL a bootleg.

  33. I, um, actually kind of like Barbra Streisand\’s music. (yes, I\’m gay. fuck off.)

    lol ur gay

  34. As someone pointed out, I’m all for price controls on publicly funded stadium tickets. Why fleece the taxpayers of a city for a “public” stadium that most can’t afford to attend sporting events at? If the stadium is actually public, why are the welfare queen team owners reaping the profits while the local taxpayers pay off the huge interest on the construction bonds as well as the higher ticket prices justified by the new equally uncomfortable plastic seat?

  35. Never mind the ticket prices. Is her hotel contractually obligated to fire any employee who looks directly at her?

  36. I was just getting really interested in girls when Funny Girl hit the movie theatres. One of my older sisters, a Babs fan, dragged me along. I can take or leave BS, but I thoroughly enjoyed the outfits, or lack thereof, on the Ziegfeld girls.

    Kevin

  37. Excimer

    Before you argue on behalf of the orch getting paid, let’s find out what Barb’s share is. Surely she wouldn’t be taking millions and millions of Euros while depriving poor Italians from seeing her in concert (maybe that’s her gift to them).

  38. Who the hell cares?

  39. excimer — 1960s to early 1970s Barbra Streisand I think is great. I pretty much just ignore everything after about 1975. Live and let live.

    But I think you (like most people who aren’t into classical music) overestimate the price of symphony tickets. The most expensive tickets to the New York Philharmonic’s concert tonight, for example, cost $94.00. The cheapest seats are only $28.00. Likewise, the Phildelphia Orchestra is playing in San Francisco tomorrow night, and the tickets for that concert range from $91.00 to $25.00.

    (And BTW, even though I like early Streisand, opera, and Proust, I’m not gay.)

  40. Well I believe that John Waters is gay and Divine delivers up a delicious line in Multiple Maniacs after the lobster rape scene. In a delirious state she runs down the list of hideous enemies she plans to wreak vengeance upon and the name she delivers with the most enthusiasm and venom is Barbra Streisand.
    F Barbra Streisand that bloated bag of hot air and self-importance!

  41. As long as the city officials don’t revoke the license to perform, is this really even a story?

    Old lady singer charges absurdly high prices, something she is famously known to do. Fans and consumer groups complain about being gouged, something they are known to do. Kind of man bites dog at this point, isn’t it?

    The only angle I can’t figure out is why one would remain a fan …

  42. In her youth, Streisand’s voice was positively thrilling even if her acting always did suck. Paying to see her sing now, however, is on a par with watching Michael Jordan play basketball now. To paraphrase an old Robin Williams joke about cocaine, buying Streisand concert tickets now is a sure sign you have too much money.

  43. (And BTW, even though I like early Streisand, opera, and Proust, I’m not gay.)

    Denial, denial, denial… 🙂

  44. If you saw my wardrobe, my denials would be more plausible.

  45. Someday My Price Will Come.

    All I Ask Of You (Is 200 Euros).

    My Honey’s Loving Arm And A Leg.

    Who Will Buy?

    When In Rime (Charge As The Romans Do)

    And my favorite…

    Stay Away

  46. My market price for a Streisand concert?

    You pay me $2,000 and i will go…

    Oh no takers? i guess i will just have to miss it then.

  47. Joshua,
    Are you paying your own airfare from the 2 Grand or does your tormentor/benefactor have to spring for that as well?

  48. bob & Umbreil

    I see your point, but I’m still not sure that this is the right approach.

    Perhaps a better policy would be to let her charge whatever she wants and have her pay to rent the stadium. The Italian government (or Rome city government as applicable) could charge rent in such a manner as to maximize its revenue. This would reduce the burden on taxpayers and allow the government to have more money for whatever it spends on.

    If Mario (to use streotypical Italian names) is willing to pay 200 euros to see a concert and Luigi is not willing to pay that much, I would say Mario probably wants to go more. Given that only a limited number of people can see the concert, selling to the highest bidders tends to get tickets to those who want them the most.

    Its also worth considering how Streisand (and other potential performers) would respond to price ceilings in public arenas. How many would skip Rome or switch to a private arena possibly with fewer seats or still play and accept the lower fee or do something else?

    I’d have to think about what policy is best but I’m just throwing some ideas out there.

    Disclaimer: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Barbara Streisand fan.

  49. Who the hell cares?

    The fact that you care so little that you are driven to make a comment to that effect is, in fact, beneath my notice.

  50. BTW, I am not gay, even if I do own a copy of “The Lexicon of Love” CD by ABC.

  51. BG:
    If Mario (to use streotypical Italian names) is willing to pay 200 euros to see a concert and Luigi is not willing to pay that much

    The evil Nintendoists show their true colors!

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