The headline will come as no surprise when you see Live Nation’s financial results: the company’s live business continues to bounce back from its Covid-19 nadir. It reported $4.43bn of revenues for Q2 2022, up from just $575.9m a year ago.
Zooming out a bit, the comeback is reflected in Live Nation’s figures for concerts put on (19.2k in the first half of 2022 compared to 2.4k in the comparable period last year); attending fans of those events (44.2 million compared to 1.9 million); and tickets sold (251.3m compared to 65.7m). Live Nation has sold 100m tickets for 2022 concerts, which it says is already more than it sold in the whole of 2019 – the last full year before Covid-19.
“Every key operating metric is at an all-time high, as we promoted more concerts, had more fans attend shows where they spent more money, sold more tickets and enabled brands to connect with fans at a scale we have never seen before,” as the company put it in its financials announcement, adding that for 2023 it already has “the largest artist pipeline we have ever seen at this point in the year”.
With a lot of debate around dynamic ticket pricing in recent months, it wasn’t a surprise to see Live Nation putting its (positive) point of view forward. The company said that the average price of a ticket globally is up 10% compared to 2019 (“largely in line with the U.S. inflation level over the period”). It added: “With market-based pricing being widely adopted by most tours, we expect to shift over $500 million from the secondary market to artists this year.”
Boss Michael Rapino was asked about the recent criticism of dynamic pricing during Live Nation’s earnings call. He suggested that the headlines around the most expensive 1% of tickets do not reflect the potentially cheaper tickets elsewhere in venues.
“If you can still get the same gross, but you can lower the ticket price in the back part of the house, that’s a win for everyone,” as he put it. In terms of Live Nation’s total growth this is currently just “1%, 2% kind of numbers – and really non-existent outside of America” but Rapino suggested that as more artists use the model “we think that’s got many years of runway for us to expand on a global basis”.
“The bands are much more sophisticated. And they’re now able to have tools to figure out how do I price it better?” he continued. “Finding that balance between the consumer demand, the brand and the slippage of the economics to secondary they’ve been losing.”
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