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LN CFO: ‘We have a product that is in demand’

Predicting a strong 2023, Live Nation president/CFO Joe Berchtold speaks out on the promoter's resilience following its impressive Q1 figures

By James Hanley on 17 May 2022

Live Nation's 2020 concert calendar still looks sparse

Live Nation president/CFO Joe Berchtold says 2023 is shaping up to be “another great year” for the concert business as demand returns “stronger than ever”.

The company recently recorded its best Q1 performance ever, with revenue topping $1.8 billion as it powers back to full strength following the Covid disruption of 2020/21.

And speaking to Yahoo! Finance, Berchtold describes how the firm is bucking the trend in the face of a worsening global economic backdrop.

“We have a product that is so in demand right now,” he says. “Coming out of the pandemic, the one thing that everybody knows they need to do is they need to get back out, they need to socialise, they need to interact. And where better than concerts to do it? So we’re seeing that the demand that existed before Covid is coming back and it’s coming back stronger than ever.

“Every indicator we’re seeing right now is saying that the demand is there. The demand looks to continue to be there over the course of this year and we’re already seeing some setup for next year – that looks to be another great year.”

“It’s an affordable luxury that they continue to do”

Berchtold highlights the consumer shift towards spending their money on experiences rather than goods.

“You talk to any consumer that’s a music lover, the going to the show is the high point of the connection with that artist,” he says. “It’s a night out with their friends. It’s an affordable luxury that they can continue to do. It’s historically performed very well in recessionary times. It’s also performed well in inflationary times.”

Asked whether all ticketing will eventually switch to “NFT tickets or some kind of blockchain-based contract”, the executive adds: “In some form that is absolutely what will happen and digital tickets is the first step in that. Digital tickets is making sure those rights are transferred, managed on a digital basis. You can add the NFT to it, you can create a visual that is your digital memorabilia, you no longer have that ticket stub of yesterday. So NFTs can fill a great spot.”

Berchtold also references LN’s recent partnerships with Verizon and Snap when discussing the company’s strong Q1 performance in sponsorship, which saw operating income and AOI increase 83% and 75%, respectively, on the same period in 2019.

“We’re a platform of scale that can deliver a very attractive audience to sponsors and advertisers,” he says. “We’re not a spot market purchase, we’re a multi-year relationship business with the brands that we align with.

“Whether it’s Verizon putting in a 5G infrastructure at our venues to make a better experience for the fans, or Snap developing augmented reality opportunities at our festivals and our concerts to enhance that experience, that’s the sort of situation the brands are looking for now: how do they make it a real connection with the fans on a multi year basis? So we’re not subject to those same spot market, short-term fluctuations that you see with some others.”


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