Pay After You Go?

Photo Credit: bonus1up via Compfight cc

We’ve blogged extensively about pay-as-you wish pricing schemes. Springwise reports that a Spanish concert promoter is now experimenting with post-concert pay-as-you-wish pricing:

Spanish promoters Caravana de Emerxencia have recognized this problem and addressed it through their upcoming gig, where attendees can decide the price of the ticket when they leave.

The concert is taking place on April 4 at Sala Capitol in Santiago, northern Spain. Four bands will be playing on the night – SkarallaosChotokoeuSkarnivals 
and Swingdigentes. At the end of the evening attendees can pay whatever price they think the event deserves.

How do you like this plan? How do you think you would respond?


Sounds like a horrible idea for concerts. It might be okay for symphonies or something, but not rock concerts. The reason is that #1 many of the people attending will be youth who will be poor in the first place and thus not inclined to pay, nor will they care either, and #2 people will be drunk/high by the end of the concert and thus also not care.


Have you been to a bar? Or the merch tent at a concert? That's all drunk young people spending care-free. Having most of their clientele be drunk, poor youth has worked out pretty well.


I think the success of things like this depends largely on peer pressure. If I see that everyone around me is dropping in $20 for the concert, I'll probably do the same. If I'm with a group of cheapskate friends, we'll probably not pay anything.

It could also raise the issue of who gets to come in. I've never heard of these bands, but if a more popular band were to try the same thing, I imagine they would have to turn a lot of people away.


They need an incentive to pay more... maybe even a big digit sign that lights up with how much you paid--plays to both social signalling and intimidation tactics.

Or... as a reverse theory... allow the concerts goers to pay what they expect the show to be. The performer can tailor the show based on revenue... maybe more $$$, more songs or intensity of stage effects.


Not a bad idea. I think there's a lot of Freakonomics fun to be had with concert pricing. It's a way messed up market. Between Tickmaster et. al. and scalping sites like Stub Hub, it's harder than ever to get tickets. Consumers complain about ticket prices for concerts (sporting events), yet I complain more about not being able to get tickets. Even signing up for 'exclusive presale access' never even works anymore. You have to get lucky. Or pay the scalper on Stub Hub. I don't mind paying the higher know..that whole supply/demand thing. I'd prefer to pay the artist, venue, promoter that premium. I have a new idea for a Ticketmaster competitor if any VC is out there. It's more like an auction, or the reverse of SuperBus pricing. All tickets start at $1000. Each day, the price of the ticket drops $100. The price also drops.. say $10 for every 100 tickets sold.

Frank Abbott

This actually may work! I have experienced this before in the form of a gong session with relaxSonic (Formerly GONG the planet) I was so moved by the experience that I emptied my entire wallet into their offering jar. I think not paying upfront may remove some barriers to really connecting with a musician. Check relaxSonic out on or at


I always like the idea of these "pay what you want" - but if you keep it that simple, it never weeds out the free-loaders (who exist).
They could adopt a similar approach to the "Humble Bundle" - where you get additional items for paying over the current average.
For concerts, maybe guarantee a ticket to whoever pays over the current average for the pre-pay component - and then whatever you want on post-pay. Or if it's the promoter, rather than the artist taking the risk - allow the post-pay (or a proportion of it) to be used as a pre-pay credit against the next gig they put on.

Enter your name...

I don't believe that "pay twice" is likely to work. A bonus for paying is a great idea, though.


This is essentially what US churches are currently doing. There's no reason you HAVE to tithe when you go to church, but it's not uncommon to have moving sermons generate more in tithes. There's a reason you don't ask for the donation when people walk through the door, they won't give as much.

Imagine if we treated education, parks & rec, or healthcare in the same fashion!


Actually, I don't see a significant difference between this and how churches have been collecting money for years. Members pay/give the church what they choose.

There are some differences in the reasons or motivation for contributing, but it still comes down to the perceived value (whether internal or external) for the contributor.


I like the idea with some simple modification. I think a smarter plan would be to give 3 suggested prices they could pay. Knowing that most people would pay in the middle price. The major issue with this plan however is your audiences will have an additional time period to spend the money on drinks, thus lowering their net worth from when they entered.
To Josh awesome idea on involving peer pressure. I would also look at maybe giving "free teeshirts based on the amount you donated" It would then be a way to show how big of a fan you are, and who would want to be seen with a white teeshirt that means you paid $20.00 when everyone knows a black shirt means you paid $50.00. That way the pride of paying more could last forever.


I think it's a great idea for a concert. People who had a great time will be likely to pay more.

In some sense paying for a concert as one leaves is like paying tips - people decide how much to tip at the end of the meal / spa service / cab ride, and tend to tip more for more pleasant and festive experiences. Concert is supposed to be a very festive and pleasant occasion - so people are likely to pay more.

Pat McGee

I've often done this at "free" museums and events. In many cases, I end up giving them more than their "suggested" donation that they solicit as people enter. Sometimes I give them what they suggested. In a few cases, I give nothing at all. I don't think I've ever given anywhere between zero and their suggested donation.

So, an interesting question just occurred to me: Why do I either give them what they asked for or more, or stiff them completely? Why don't I, for example, give them half? I'm gonna have to think about this.

Eric M. Jones

I really do wish that such schemes were possible.

In a perfect world they might be, but since they're essentially nonexistent, I presume the flaws of human beings eventually annihilate them.

perth painters

I like sound, i can pay whatever the price of the event...
I like this plan..

Ann T

Not smart. Everyone will be paying at once. If they have people pay at actual registers, there will be long line, and people won't want to wait in line so they will leave. If they allow people to pay just by throwing money in a barrel or something, people will just throw a dollar or fifty cents (or the Euro equivalent), because they will feel like they are leaving a donation or a tip. Hard to think of a way this could actually work.


This doesn't make much sense economically. Time and time again private companies have experimented with finding ways to get people to pay for something then can get for free. It never works out. Remember when Radiohead let's fans download their album "In Rainbows" and pay what they thought it was worth. Less than half of the fans paid anything and the promotion ended after only one month. Without "exclusion" for those unwilling or unable to pay, you cannot profit. That's exactly why we have public goods provided by government where markets fail to do so. I doubt "pay as you wish" will ever catch on.


For this to work, the bulk of the revenue must be derived from sources other than tickets i.e. food, drinks, t shirts. There is a large incentive to stumble away without paying a dime