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Another year of record growth for Live Nation

The world's biggest concert company increased its turnover by a staggering $2 billion in 2017, as it celebrates its seventh consecutive year of record growth

By IQ on 28 Feb 2018

Michael Rapino, Live Nation Entertainment

image © Rainer Hosch/Live Nation

As predicted by CEO Michael Rapino in November, Live Nation Entertainment has posted a seventh consecutive year of record-breaking growth, turning over nearly an extra US$2bn – a remarkable 24% increase in revenue – in 2017.

Speaking to investors yesterday, Rapino (pictured) said he sees “strong growth for years” in the global concert market, of which Live Nation is by far the biggest player, “as fans globally drive demand, artists are touring more, and sponsorship and ticketing benefit from the concerts flywheel”.

That value of that flywheel grew even more, with LN’s concerts division worth $7.9bn (up 26%) in 2017, while concert attendance – from a reported 30,000 shows in 40 countries – grew 21% to 86 million. “Given our plans to further monetise our fan relationships, I expect this will translate into a continued strong growth in concerts AOI [adjusted operating income] in 2018,” said Rapino.

Across the company as a whole – including sponsorship and ticketing (Ticketmaster) – revenue was up 24%, AOI up 15% and free cash flow up 21%, with all delivering their strongest-ever AOI results.

Losses did, however, widen in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2017, as a result of the company’s $110m legal settlement with Songkick.

Among Ticketmaster’s greatest successes in 2017, continued Rapino, was the introduction of the Verified Fan initiative, which aims to verify the ticket-buyer is a genuine “fan” by asking them to register for a presale in advance, then emailing codes to buyers it predicts will use the ticket rather than resell it.

“In 2018, I expect us to further consolidate our global concerts position”

“Through the year, we worked with over 80 artists on Verified Fan, selling three million tickets and saving fans over $100 million relative to what they would have spent on the secondary market to buy these tickets,” he said. “As we look to 2018, it will continue to be a top priority to evolve Verified Fan, while also building out a full suite of services that continue to give artists greater control of how their tickets are priced and distributed.”

However, “at the same time,” Rapino continued, “we’ve also continued to improve our marketplace, already by far the largest ticketing marketplace in the world. We remain focused on building the inventory available to fans, adding new clients and expanding our secondary listings.”

Looking ahead to 2018, Rapino expects Live Nation “to further consolidate our global concerts position while enhancing our on-site hospitality business and capturing additional pricing opportunities.

“We believe that our sponsorship business will continue driving double-digit growth as more brands look for that direct connection with music fans. And a more effective Ticketmaster marketplace, along with further alignment with artists, should continue to build on Ticketmaster’s success.”

“The combination of macro trends and our demonstrated ability to execute provide great confidence in our ability to grow the business for many years to come,” he concluded.

 


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