September 27, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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VRT know better how much their faces on screen earn, just as they are in many other countries

VRT know better how much their faces on screen earn, just as they are in many other countries

dear reader,

With the summer holidays, the festival season has fully started. Starting today and throughout the weekend, tens of thousands of music lovers will once again flock to the Rock Werchter meadows to see their favorite artists. Still the lucky ones who managed to get a ticket. Nowadays you have to dig deep into your pockets for a few days in Werchter. This year, the price of a combination ticket has increased by 10 percent, to 292 euros. Add food and drink to that and you’ll soon be well over €500. It seems that one of the main reasons for the more expensive festivals is that artists are suddenly asking for more money for their performances after a long silence.

But there’s a lot also to do with the fact that festivals – and the music industry in general – are increasingly in the hands of a few major players around the world. With Live Nation, also arranger Rock Werchter, as Satan Incarnate. Meanwhile, this near-monopoly is facing a great deal of resistance, both in Europe and in the United States. Not only because they make big festival prices spiral out of control, but also because supply is shrinking. “Small and medium-sized festivals are disappearing because the organizers can no longer cover their costs or because the able-bodied international concert promoters can set the calendar and prices without competition,” colleague Bart Eckhout rightly points out.

It is a topic that affects many of our readers, as evidenced by the many reactions we have received: from “a simple water that costs 3.5 euros” and that this year has to be paid with a poorly functioning cashless system to a “festival in the Czech Republic” are already an alternative. The frustrations seem to run deep. So this is the real start of summer for many young people. Hermann Scheuermanns will be a concern. The 69-year-old founder of Rock Werchter sold the festival years ago, and it continues to be highly featured on Live Nation. No damage has been done to him: his assets are estimated at 37.5 million euros.

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Other high earners who came into the picture widely last week are the two new screen faces at the VRT who earn more than €300,000. There are now eight in total. We do not know who it is about and what exactly they receive. Unlike the BBC – we know, for example, that sports presenter Gary Lineker earned €1.57m last year – in Scandinavia there is little transparency in VRT. However, this is tax money, so it would be appropriate to open up here. In this way, the public broadcaster also prevents speculation on social media, which is perhaps even more harmful to those involved.

The standardization process has shielded workers from the price shocks of the past year. Our wages have increased by more than 10 percent. But inflation has fallen sharply in the meantime. So much so that there is already negative inflation on a monthly basis: prices are falling slightly. In certain sectors, such as the banking sector, this resulted in a small wage loss of 0.17%. But the financial sector is one exception. Negative inflation usually does not pass on to employees because it only means small savings for companies, but it can cause a lot of social unrest. Later, if inflation picks up again, this is usually settled by a limited wage increase. If your wages were indexed annually in the month of January, this problem would not arise. Inflation is expected to be around 4 percent for the whole of 2023: so you’ll still get a nice pay raise in six months.

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until next week,

Dimitri Tgeskins
Economic journalist