Live Nation, the most powerful concert promoter on the planet, this week reported revenue of US$1.4 billion for the first quarter, up 17% year-on-year and ahead of its projections.
“This year we have booked more shows, sold more tickets and have more sponsorship commitments than ever before at this point of the year,” Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino comment in LN’s earnings report. “With the strength of these leading indicators, I am confident we will once again deliver record topline, operating income and AOI (adjusted operating income) performance in each of our businesses in 2017.”
The live entertainment juggernaut boasted “strong operating performance across all concerts, advertising, and ticketing segments” as operating income came in at US$21 million (up 36%) with adjusted operating income tallied at US$92 million (up 25%),
Concerts are the “engine that powers the Live Nation flywheel strategy,” Rapino enthuses, and its machine is apparently humming. By the end of April, LN claims to have booked more than 4,000 arena, stadium and amphitheater shows for 2017, up 10% from the same period last year, and 46 million tickets have been sold for its concerts through April, a gain of 25%.
Also, its Ticketmaster business posted its largest quarter in history.
LN also gave an update on its “Verified Fan” product, which leverages proprietary data and analytics to screen and verify potential ticket buyers. After launching with Ed Sheeran, the group has run its program on 30 tours, including Depeche Mode, Twenty One Pilots and Harry Styles. It has proven “highly successful in reducing, by over 90%, the number of tickets that are then sold on secondary markets,” Rapino says.
Live Nation promotes shows in 40 countries, including Australia, where the group has tours for Ariana Grande and Bruno Mars and many others on the slate. Michael Coppel recently rose to chairman of its activities for Australasia, while Roger Field was promoted from COO to CEO with responsibilities for day-to-day management of its activities on both sides of the Tasman. Coppel has orchestrated a string of blockbuster deals for the company, from winning the bid to manage Melbourne’s Palais Theatre, the purchase of Auckland’s Vector Arena, and the acquisition earlier this year of Paul Piticco and Jess Ducrou’s Secret Sounds.