Culture contains the stake of inflation. The gradual increase in costs has not yet affected the prices of tickets to access museums, shows, cinema or concerts. If during the pandemic it was shown that the sector was a safe space for contagion, now it is claimed to be stable in times of crisis.
In the last year, the Consumer Price Index for cultural services has increased by 3.8%. A considerable figure compared to the stability of the last decade but much less than that of the general index, which has shot up 7.3% year-on-year.
According to the data compiled by La Vanguardia, however, it has not affected the amount of tickets so far this year. Nor are they expected to run wild in a general way in the coming months.
At least in those less popular areas, where raising the access threshold could hit an already limited demand. In those of mass consumption and less subsidized, such as festivals and concerts, industry sources predict that there will be increases of a maximum of 4% of the ticket price.
An important part of the high culture offer – such as museums, exhibitions and certain theater and dance proposals – is public or is largely supported by public financing. If during the last decade the vast majority of these institutions and entities have not raised their general price by one euro – and if they have done so, it has been symbolic – it is unlikely that they will do so now.
The general admission of the Prado Museum and the MNAC has risen three euros in the last ten years to stand at 15 and 12 euros, respectively. A testimonial increase, if one takes into account that both maintain free time slots for all audiences.
During the same period, the average price per ticket at the Teatre Lliure and La Abadía has risen by less than two euros and is still around 30 and 25 euros, respectively. The Romea not only has not raised its cost but has dropped 50 cents compared to 2012. And attending the Liceu now costs just six euros more than the 77 euros it cost in 2012.
Despite the fact that the energy receipts of these institutions have doubled or tripled, what it costs to access them has been maintained during 2022. "The logic is that, in order not to affect a demand that is already limited, support is sought of the public administration in this type of situation”, explains Albert de Gregorio, specialist in cultural policy and associate professor at the University of Barcelona.
In the cinema, prices also remain stable. Watching a movie at the Verdi costs exactly the same now as it did in 2012. Neither have platforms like Filmin or Netflix increased rates during all this time.
Nor those of the publishing sector. Buying the latest installment of Dolores Redondo's Baztán trilogy at the time it was released, a decade ago, cost almost 18 euros. Now, her latest book, Waiting for the Flood, can be purchased for 21 euros. The Winter of the World, by Ken Follet, cost 23.65 then. Exactly the same as what her latest work Never costs, published in 2021 by the same publisher, Plaza
Where increases are expected is at concerts and festivals. “Taking into account that the costs that are increasing are equivalent to 15%, or at most 20%, of the ticket price, little will be noticed: we are talking about an increase of between 2 and 4% of the entrance”, explains Joan Rosselló, founder of TheProject, one of the main promoters in Spain.
This potential rise is added to that of recent years. Although it is difficult to measure this increase because the valuation of the artist or the capacity can change, there are some examples that serve as a comparison. In 2014, a ticket to listen to the Canadian Michael Bublé at the Palau Sant Jordi cost 39 euros. This year the ticket for the same concert costs 56 euros. Or Bruce Springsteen, who played in 2012 at the Estadi Olímpic in Barcelona: then, the general track ticket could be purchased for 65 euros. Today it is 82 euros.
"There has been an increase in the cache of international artists which, added to the competition between promoters, has triggered the final price," explains Rosselló.
Following the global trend, national artists who have a powerful calling power have adjusted to international standards. For example, buying tickets for Sabina's next concert at Sant Jordi costs 76 euros, 30% more than the 52 euros they cost in 2014.
If inflation continues to rise, the first to suffer will be this most popular culture, which is the one with the largest audience. And, in contexts of crisis, leisure is one of the first resignations made by families that lose purchasing power.