After making history in Q3 2018, CEO Michael Rapino says it'll likely be another record-breaking 12 months for Live Nation
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Michael Rapino says the firm remains on pace for a record year after posting revenue of US$8.2 billion for Q3 2023
By James Hanley on 03 Nov 2023
Live Nation says it has delivered its “strongest quarter ever” and is on pace for a record year after reporting revenue of US$8.2 billion (€7.7m) in Q3 2023.
The total represented a 32% increase on the previous quarter’s $5.6bn, while revenue for the year-to-date was up 36% to $16.9bn. The company’s share price was up slightly to $83.42 at press time.
In addition, operating income rose 22% in Q3 and 35% for the first nine months of 2023 to $619 million and $1.1 bn respectively. Plus AOI jumped 35% to $836m in Q3 and 33% to $1.7bn for the year so far.
“We delivered our strongest quarter ever and are on pace for a record 2023, driven in good part by the acceleration of structural growth in the live entertainment industry,” says Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino. “While we have benefitted from tailwinds for many years, it has accelerated due to the globalisation of our business along with a fundamental shift in consumer spending habits toward experiences.
“With the majority of opportunity still untapped from Milan to Bogotá to Tokyo and beyond, we expect the industry will continue growing in 2024 and for years to come.”
“The consumer supply-demand seems to be consistent across the globe, small to big”
LN has sold 140 million tickets for its shows in 2023, a 17% year-over-year rise, already bettering 2022’s full year total of 121m. Its Ticketmaster division, meanwhile, has sold 257m fee-bearing tickets for the year-to-date, up 22% on the same period in 2022. Revenue soared 57% to $833m.
Speaking to investors on the company’s earnings call, Rapino said there was no indication of fan interest waning for 2024.
“We have not seen anything taper off in any sense,” he said. “The consumer supply-demand seems to be consistent across the globe, small to big.”
Though acknowledging Beyoncé’s Live Nation-promoted 2023 Renaissance World Tour as “wildly successful”, Rapino said he has no concerns about other tours struggling to replicate its success next year.
“When we look at any artist across Ticketmaster-Live Nation, no artist is going to account for more than 1% of the tickets, so no one tour will ever hurt us year-over-year,” he says. “It’s about our macro portfolio of artists and tours.”
“We’re going to have big, record-breaking tours on the road next year”
He continued: “We think next year – crazy to say, but… we’re looking at double-digit growth over this year. We’re going to have big, record-breaking tours on the road next year, as Bad Bunny just went up again and more to be announced. So we are very confident… that we will overcome this year’s numbers.”
Live Nation CFO Joe Berchtold said the firm was “absolutely focused on continuing to add venues” to its portfolio, and went on to discuss the DoJ’s investigation of the company. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the justice department’s probe was focusing on whether the LN uses anticompetitive agreements with venues and artists.
“Not surprisingly, it’s our impression that the DOJ is taking at least the first level look at almost everything that our competitors complain about and from there they look further at some issues and not others,” he said. “If they tell us they have a problem with something, we talked to them about it.
“But, let me emphasise this: as far as we can tell, nobody thinks that the fundamentals that drive our promotions business are unlawful. We pay top dollar to artists and provide them with top-notch tour support and those are good things.”
Berchtold said his understanding was that the DoJ’s investigation was “in its mid-stages at this point”.
“The article also seems to reinforce that the investigation’s looking at specific business practices versus our overall business model”
“I think the article also seems to reinforce that the investigation’s looking at specific business practices versus our overall business model,” he added.
Rapino, meanwhile, said he was “thrilled” by Live Nation’s new multi-year partnership with Mastercard, which was announced earlier this week. The deal gives cardholders exclusive access to concert presale tickets, premium seats and VIP experiences through priceless.com from January 2024. LN’s sponsorship revenue was up 7% to $367m for Q3 overall.
“We’ve been working over the last couple of years to have a great diversity across our partners on the payment side,” noted Rapino. “Thankfully, we didn’t take any of the easy crypto money at the time. We worked hard to make sure we had a stable of great partners.
“Citibank, PayPal and now Mastercard, for international, rounds out our global portfolio in that category. So we’re very, very happy to have them onboard [as a] big part of our business and continue to show strong growth in our sponsorship side, and sponsors lined-up to be part of this live boom.”
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