As we all know, artists such as Tina Turner and Eminem are generous, loving human beings and would gladly perform for free, but there are expenses to consider, such as meals, elective plastic surgery and entourage maintenance, not to mention Malibu beach house upkeep and those charity donations to worthwhile causes like the Groupie Preservation Society. As a group, artists could easily rival the philanthropic efforts of a Bill Gates or Rupert Murdoch, so when a performer such as Barbra Streisand is forced to price her best seats at $2,500, one should buy as many as possible, and remember that it’s for a good cause.

Second only to artists in generosity is the concert promoter. Ask any promoter and he or she will cite their overwhelming love of music as well as their keen respect for humanity as the primary reasons for entering the concert business. However, in presenting shows by such acts like Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers, promoters foot the bill for expenses like security, limos and artist resuscitation units and must charge, however unwillingly, a price to adequately cover such expenses.

Of course the record labels also factor into the price of a concert ticket. Many of the really big labels believe that music wants to be free and should be distributed as widely as possible. However, they also believe that no country is a true democracy unless there is a healthy lawyer workforce, hence their campaign to halt the distribution of unauthorized MP3 files of artists like “Weird Al” Yankovic and Trace Adkins is merely an outgrowth of their desire to see America’s lawyers fed and clothed.

So the next time you dig deep into your pockets to come up with the cash to see Peter Frampton, Jo Dee Messina or Jonathan Butler think of all the people you’re helping out. Smile as you hand over your plastic for K.C. & The Sunshine Band and think only happy thoughts when you pay the additional service charge for AC/DC.

You’ll find that paying $100, $200 or even $1,000 per ticket is often a reward in itself. And as you cough up the bucks for 311 and Culture Club you just might discover that deep down inside your soul there’s a little Bill Gates screaming to get out.