The cost of being a music super fan

Now that COVID-19 restrictions have eased in the UK, we’re seeing some of the biggest names in pop music take to stadium stages again. Ed Sheeran, McFly, Haim, Maximo Park and even Cliff Richard are touring in 2021, with plenty more A-lister acts releasing tickets for their tours next year.

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Gig tickets, especially for the world’s biggest acts, can be a pricey purchase. Superfans of pop stars can spend thousands and thousands of pounds following their idols on tour, and this got us wondering - which mega music acts are the most expensive (and cheapest) to be a superfan of? 

Consider a 0% purchase credit card to help spread the cost of returning to the world of live gigs and concerts. 

Looking at 65 of the world’s biggest selling pop acts of the last decade, we investigated:

  • The average price of an album download

  • The average cost of their official merchandise products

  • The typical price of a live gig ticket

  • The cost of an authentic signed item

  • Where possible, the price for a 12” vinyl album

By adding up the total cost of all of these coveted fan purchases into a ‘Superfan Starter Package’ we’ve ranked which modern music acts are likely to be the cheapest and most expensive to support.

Top 20 cheapest music acts for superfans

Updated 17 August 2021
RankArtistSuperfan Starter Package (£)Superfan Starter Package ($)
1Flo Rida£115.57$159.49
2Chainsmokers£126.99$175.24
3Pitbull£131.73$181.78
4Doja Cat£142.24$196.29
5Lorde£150.25$207.35
6Jason Derulo£156.17$215.51
7Megan Thee Stallion£160.65$221.70
8Lewis Capaldi£167.44$231.07
9Little Mix£169.10$233.36
10David Guetta£174.75$241.16
11Cardi B£176.79$243.98
12Camilla Cabello£176.82$244.01
13Mumford & Sons£181.76$250.83
14Ed Sheeran£186.19$256.95
15Dua Lipa£189.10$260.96
16Florida Georgia Line£196.71$271.46
17Adele£197.41$272.43
18Selena Gomez£198.51$273.94
19Meghan Trainor£200.26$276.36
20Ke$ha£200.86$277.18

Flo Rida, the Chainsmokers, Pitbull, Doja Cat and Lorde rank as some of the music acts that are kindest to fans on a budget. The ‘starter pack’ for super fans of these mega acts comes in at around £150 ($210) or less.

The average album price for the top 20 ‘cheapest’ music acts are all under £9 (approx. $12.50), except for Lewis Capaldi, Mumford & Sons, Meghan Trainor and Ke$ha, whose average album download costs are a few quid more. With album download prices fairly standardised across the board, the real difference to a fan’s purse strings are the costs of gig tickets, and getting hold of that special signed piece of merchandise.

According to SeatGeek, the average cost of seeing Flo Rida live is just under £35 ($48), the cheapest average price for a gig ticket of all the music acts surveyed. The most common price for a gig ticket to see a mega popstar comes in at between £60-£70 ($80-$95) but there are some artists whose tour tickets could set you back on average between £150 - £180 ($200-$250), including Justin Bieber, P!nk, Billie Eilish, Usher, Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift. A ticket to see BTS live could even set you back as much as £210 ($290).

Popstars can make a very nice side earning from their official merchandise sales, and our study reveals the acts who are charging the least, on average, for their official products. The Black Eyed Peas have, on average, the cheapest products of all the acts surveyed in their official merchandise stores, with t-shirts from £20 ($28) and face masks from £9 ($12.50). Other acts with relatively low prices for their merchandise include Beyoncé (with face masks and phone cases providing budget-friendly options for fans), Adele (with notebooks and make-up mirrors providing low-cost options), and Ed Sheeran (who sells badges and colouring books for fans on a budget).  

Picking up a signed piece of memorabilia is a must-have for a super fan, and there is a big difference in how much you can buy autographed goods for. We looked at the cheapest (genuine!) signed items for each artist available to purchase on eBay, and all of the listings were at least £20 ($28) or more. Fans of Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, Camilla Cabello and Lewis Capaldi can all pick up an autographed memento for under £30 ($42), whereas fans of Eminem, Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West will be looking to fork-out hundreds, if not thousands for a signed item.

Top 20 most expensive modern music acts for superfans

Updated 17 August 2021
RankArtistSuperfan Starter Package (£)Superfan Starter Package ($)
1Eminem£2,149.75$2,966.66
2Travis Scott£1,626.37$2,244.39
3Drake£1,118.42$1,543.42
4Kanye West£1,011.27$1,395.56
5Kendrick Lamar£892.25$1,231.31
6Jay-Z£740.97$1,022.53
7Olivia Rodrigo£656.75$906.31
8Justin Bieber£621.30$857.39
9BTS£573.64$791.62
10P!nk£552.50$762.45
11Chris Brown£511.71$706.17
12Beyonce£480.02$662.42
13Jason Aldean£455.28$628.29
14Justin Timberlake£448.12$618.40
15Bruno Mars£435.27$600.68
16Billie Eilish£420.46$580.23
17Coldplay£394.75$544.75
18Future£347.26$479.22
19Zac Brown Band£346.56$478.25
20Usher£327.28$451.65

 Eminem, Travis Scott, Drake, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar are the top five most expensive pop acts for fans to support. Whilst their album prices are comparable with the other artists’ in the study, their gig ticket prices are considerably higher (roughly around £100/$140).

However, it’s the price of these artists’ signed merchandise that puts them into the super expensive category. Signed items from these acts are hard to come by and dedicated fans will need to save up to £1,000 ($1,400) to guarantee a piece of autographed musical history.  A signed copy of Eminem’s Encore album is listed on eBay at £1,999/$2760, whilst a signed Travis Scott Birds in the Trap CD is going for £1,444/$1,995.

Other artists that have considerable costs attached to their signed merchandise (between £200 - £400/$280 - $550) include Jay Z, Olivia Rodrigo, BTS and Beyonce.

The music act charging the most for their official merchandise pieces is Jay Z, with sweatshirts priced at £65/$90 and a jacket costing fans £173/$240.  Lorde also has a number of more expensive merchandise products including Zippo lighters at £40/$55, long sleeve t-shirts at £55/$75 and a hoodie at £125/$173.

Methodology

To calculate the cost of a Super Fan Starter Pack we totalled the combined costs of the following things for each music act:

  • The average download price of an album by the artist on iTunes (using up to ten of the most recent album releases)

  • The average price across the artist’s cheapest official merchandise products (up to five products)

  • The average gig ticket price for the artist according to SeatGeek.com

  • The price of an authentically autographed item for the artist listed on eBay

  • The cost of the cheapest 12” vinyl album by that artist (if available)

The total prices of the Super Fan Starter Packs were ranked and compared to reveal which artists were likely to cost fans more money to support.