Live Nation consolidates Asia-Pacific division
Live Nation has announced the appointment of a number of senior leadership roles intended to unify its Asia-Pacific division.
Roger Field, currently CEO of Live Nation Australia and New Zealand, has been named president of Live Nation Asia Pacific, with Mark Kneebone taking on the new role of managing director of Live Nation New Zealand and Kei Ikuta promoted to president of Live Nation Japan.
Paul Antonio, currently president of Asia and the Middle East, moves to the new role of chief operating officer of Live Nation EMEA, reporting to John Reid, president of Live Nation EMEA.
Field (pictured) joined the company in 2010 to set up Live Nation Australia alongside Luke Hede (currently vice-president of touring). Following Live Nation’s acquisition of Michael Coppel Presents in 2012, Field has led the growth of the Australian and New Zealand businesses, initially as COO and then CEO from 2017.
In his new role, Field will oversee all of Live Nation’s businesses across the Asia-Pacific region, reporting to Live Nation Asia Pacific chairman Alan Ridgeway. Michael Coppel will continue as chairman of Live Nation Australia.
Serving as co-head of promotions for Australia and New Zealand since 2018, Kneebone’s new role will see him oversee all Live Nation’s businesses in NZ, reporting to Field. Stuart Clumpas retires from his role as chairman of LN New Zealand, but will continue as a consultant for the company, as well as a shareholder in Spark Arena.
“The cohesion of a true Asian-Pacific organisation presents significant opportunities for growth”
In Japan, Kei Ikuta takes over from John Boyle, who had served as president since January 2018 and is now moving back to work with Live Nation in Los Angeles. Under Boyle’s leadership, Live Nation’s profile and scale has grown significantly, launching Download in 2019, being appointed international booker for new Tokyo Olympic venue Ariake Arena and growing the company’s show count and market share. Ikuta, who joined the company earlier this year from Japanese promoter Udo Artists, will report to Field.
Commenting on the new hires, Ridgeway says: “The appointment of these roles provides us with the opportunity to further align our Australian, New Zealand and Asian businesses.
“Roger comes to the role with an impressive record of success and is in a great position to lead our growth strategy as he leverages our resources across the whole region. I wish Roger, Mark and Kei all the best in their new roles in taking our businesses forward in this new era, and thank Paul, Stuart and John for their hard work and dedication in establishing our presence in Asia, New Zealand and Japan.”
“I want to thank Alan for giving me the opportunity to lead the talented teams across the division,” adds Field. “The cohesion of a true Asian-Pacific organisation presents significant opportunities for growth, not only for our business but for the professional development of our people and relationships.
‘New Zealand continues to prove itself as a market that leads the way in the return to live and Mark is a proven leader who has played a critical role in our overall success. This appointment further solidifies our commitment to NZ and will affirm the market as a significant player in the global live industry.”
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Australian biz unites for safe reopening strategy
The Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF), a new initiative that aims to to ensure fans can return safely to live events when restrictions on mass gatherings are lifted, has been formed by Australia’s biggest live entertainment companies.
LEIF’s mission is to “support the COVIDSafe reactivation of events with live audiences across Australia” when restrictions are eased in July, according to the body. (COVIDSafe is Australia’s coronavirus contact-tracing app.) “LEIF will put in place a comprehensive, flexible, all-of-industry reopening and risk-management strategy that meets the needs of the public, governments, sporting bodies, venues, performers and industry, with safety at its core.”
LEIF comprises all major Australian live businesses, including promoters Live Nation, TEG, Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment and AEG; agency WME; venues Melbourne Cricket Ground, Sydney Cricket Ground, Marvel Stadium, Melbourne Olympic Parks and Adelaide Oval; venue operators ASM Global, Venues West and Venues Live; musical producer Michael Cassel Group; and associations Live Performance Australia, Venue Management Association and Australian Festivals Association.
Led by an executive committee headed by former Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland, the forum says will work in conjunction with governments, sporting bodies, venues and audiences to “build confidence in the industry’s preparedness to operate safely, flexibly and sustainably and explore how industry can be supported by governments during its gradual return”.
“I am proud that we stand united to work together”
LEIF will develop measures regarding cleaning and sanitisation, crowd management, physical distancing plans, health monitoring and contact tracing, with the objective of restarting an industry responsible for more than 175,000 Australian jobs. The objective is to safely restart an industry which supports over 175,000 Australian jobs and feeds other sectors hit hard by COVID-19 such as tourism, transport and hospitality.
“This pandemic has brought our industry to a complete standstill. The thousands of cancelled sporting events, concerts, festivals, theatre, family and comedy shows, and all the associated revenues related to them, can never be replaced,” comments Sutherland.
“Our industry was the first to close during Covid-19 and it will be one of the last to fully reopen. The cultural, creative and sports industries supports the livelihoods of around 175,000 Australians, many of whom are casual or part time. The industry also contributes an estimated $150 billion to the Australian economy. Our live events have a huge economic flow on effect: we support jobs in airlines and other transport companies, hotels, pubs, restaurants and retail establishments of all sizes all over Australia.
“We need a clear roadmap to get our industry back to work, while playing a bigger role in the post-Covid-19 economic recovery of our nation. We are committed to working with all states and territories, especially with their chief medical and health officers. We will develop COVIDSafe best practices and a world-leading response to revive our industry, get people back to work and bring fans back together throughout Australia through the unbeatable power of live events.”
“We must put aside our natural competitive instincts so we can all bring large-scale live events back to the Australian people”
“Our industry has to work together at this challenging time. We must put aside our natural competitive instincts so we can all bring large-scale live events back to the Australian people safely,” says Geoff Jones, CEO of TEG. “We want to work closely with the federal, state and territory governments to create solutions that get our industry up and running again and help get the many thousands of people who support our industry back to work. We want to bring fans back and jobs back, safely.”
Roger Field, CEO of Live Nation Australasia – who also serves on the executive committee alongside Sutherland and Jones – adds: “Live events and mass gatherings are not solely for recreational purposes – they play a crucial part in the fabric of Australian life.
“Just as sport plays an important role in promoting healthy behaviours, so too do music and the performing arts. The positive impact culture brings to society is not only seen both psychologically and in social wellbeing, but in the fact that the live events industry contributes hundreds of thousands of jobs, which flows on and effects the whole economy.
“I am proud that we stand united to work together to make the return to events a reality and for the people of Australia to enjoy the power of live once again.”
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Industry reps, politicians urge lock-out laws axing
An inquiry into Sydney’s night time economy has highlighted support from politicians including lord mayor Clover Moore and industry professionals for the scrapping of controversial lock-out laws.
The number of live music venues in Sydney has halved since the New South Wales (NSW) government introduced lock-out laws in 2014. The regulations restrict last entry to 1.30 a.m. and drinks licensing to 3 a.m. at bars, pubs, clubs and music venues in Sydney’s central business district (CBD) entertainment precinct.
Following an independent review in 2016, the NSW government relaxed regulations by half an hour for live entertainment venues.
The legislation was introduced following an increase in alcohol-related violence and antisocial behaviour in the city centre.
Speaking at a night time economy committee meeting, the city’s lord mayor Moore stated that “Sydney has lost its reputation over the five years following the introduction of the lock-out laws and associated measures.”
Moore said the laws have had a “devastating impact” on the city’s nightlife and night time economy.
The problem, according to Moore, lies in the failure to distinguish between well run and badly run venues.
“If the lockout laws are removed – we are recommending that they should be – we would be able to incentivise well-run venues, and penalise poorly-run venues”
“If the lockout laws are removed – we are recommending that they should be – we would be able to incentivis[e] well run venues, and penalis[e] poorly run venues,” Moore told the committee.
Live Nation Australasia chief executive, Roger Field, showed his support for the removal of lock-out laws at the close of the hearing on Monday 12 August.
Field referenced the “reputational damage” caused by the lock-out laws “both in Australia and internationally”, based on feedback from artists and their international touring team.
Justin Hemmes, owner of Australian hospitality giant the Merivale Group which operates venues including RNB Fridays, Ministry of Sound, Chinese Laundry and the Beresford, has also weighed in on the issue.
Originally an advocate for the regulations, Hemmes stated the laws “must go now”, adding that the measures had become an “embarrassment” for the city and its nightlife.
The parliamentary committee will report the conclusions of the hearing to NSW premier Galdys Berejiklian in September.
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Australia’s new Festival X to debut this year
Festival X, the new Australian touring festival co-founded by Richie McNeill’s Hardware, ex-Stereosonic promoter Onelove and Live Nation Australasia, is set to launch in three cities this November.
The festival, announced last August but ultimately postponed until 2019, fills a slot left in the Australian festival calendar by dance music event Stereosonic, co-founded by McNeill and Onelove’s Frank Cotela, which at its peak could shift nearly 300,000 tickets across five shows.
In its first year, Festival X will visit open-air venues in Brisbane (RNA Showgrounds, 29 November), Sydney (Sydney Showgrounds, 30 November) and Melbourne (Melbourne Showgrounds, 1 December), “showcasing the best artists from across the world and within Australia to fans right across the Eastern seaboard”.
Headliners are Calvin Harris, Armin van Buuren and Lil Pump, with other performers including Steve Aoki, Blueface and Alison Wonderland.
Hardware Corp founder McNeill comments: “As they say, good things come to those who wait. We’re super excited to be working with Onelove again and the Live Nation team to put together an incredible mix of music in the electronic, pop and urban realms. There are so many amazing artists right now and some amazing creatives we have been working with.
“Something very special is happening here and we’re super-excited about it.”
Adds Cotela: “As we kick off the summer festival season in Australia once more, we hope to create an event that showcases entertainment on the scale we’re known internationally for, with massive artists, epic event production and a focus firmly on fun.
“We’re super excited to be working with Onelove again and the Live Nation team”
“Australia’s most successful electronic music promoters teaming up with the world’s largest touring company can only mean a great day for everyone. Festival X is looking ‘xtra-large’ and we can’t wait.”
Festival X represents McNeill and Cotela’s first collaboration with a major multinational since Totem Onelove Group, owned by the now-defunct SFX Entertainment, was placed into bankruptcy in May 2016. At the time, Onelove was owed US$10.7 million by SFX.
Stereosonic was effectively axed in 2015, after the 2016 edition of the festival was put on indefinite hiatus following SFX’s bankruptcy.
The new festival is organised by Onelove Music Group, a separate entity not connected with SFX.
Formed as a collaboration between industry leaders and teams behind some of Australia’s leading festivals,
Roger Field, CEO of Live Nation Australasia, says: “Festival X is set to wow Australian fans with the best local and international talent, while showcasing a new and exciting festival experience. X is the ultimate pre-summer party fans have been waiting for and deserve. Australia, get ready…”
LN announces new NZ festival, Soper Reserve Series
Live Nation has announced the launch of a new summer music festival series at Soper Reserve in Tauranga, New Zealand, next year.
The company hopes Soper Reserve Series, which will launch in January 2020, will attract 28,000 live music fans over an eight-show period. The 3,500-capacity greenfield site, located in Mt Maunganui, on the Bay of Plenty, will be programmed exclusively by Live Nation, which plans to bring “a diverse range of local and international acts” to one NZ’s most popular summer holiday destinations.
Live Nation New Zealand’s co-head of promotions, Mark Kneebone, comments: “The Soper Reserve Series is going to be a terrific addition not only to the region, but the overall New Zealand music landscape. By utilising Live Nation’s global expertise and resources, we are extremely excited to be bringing a world-class event to Soper Reserve that will attract a diverse range of acts, including some of the biggest names in music locally and globally.”
“Continuing to develop New Zealand as a touring market of international profile remains a priority for Live Nation”
Live Nation stages hundreds of concerts in New Zealand annually, with 2018 tours including Maroon 5, Post Malone, SZA, Red Hot Chili Peppers with Fleetwood Mac, Metallica, U2, Troye Sivan and Little Mix. Last year, Live Nation acquired a stake in major music festival Rhythm & Vines, and staged Childish Gambino’s festival, Pharos, in Tāpapakanga Regional Park in Orere, near Auckland.
“Continuing to develop New Zealand as a touring market of international profile remains a priority for Live Nation,” says Live Nation Australasia. “Finding a fantastic new venue such as Soper Reserve and creating groundbreaking and exceptional experiences like the new summer festival series is the cornerstone of our strategy.
“We are particularly excited when these opportunities land outside of major capital cities and we look forward to bringing a truly memorable experience to the Tauranga region in 2020 and beyond.”
LN launches accessibility initiative in Australasia
Live Nation and Ticketmaster have partnered with Get Skilled Access, a consultancy co-founded by three-time Paralympic gold medallist Dylan Alcott, to improve accessibility across its venues and companies in Australia and Zealand.
The partnership also aims to bring together the wider Australasian industry to “create a more inclusive and accessible experience for fans with disabilities”, according to Live Nation. It has already seen Get Skilled Access provide accessibility training to 150 Live Nation employees in Australia and New Zealand, as well as consult on accessibility for Live Nation’s stadium tours, including the upcoming U2 Joshua Tree 2019 tour.
Ticketmaster, meanwhile, is testing an enhanced online booking experience on its website and app to give disabled customers more flexibility and choice of tickets.
In a joint statement, Roger Field, CEO of Live Nation Australasia, and Maria O’Connor, managing director of Ticketmaster Australia and New Zealand, say: “Every fan has the right to equal access of live entertainment. We’re delighted to be working closely with Dylan Alcott and Get Skilled Access to make sure that real change happens. It is essential that the industry comes together to achieve this, and now is the time for us all to find solutions.”
“It’s Get Skilled Access’s and my mission to help people understand disability by driving organisations to be more inclusive,” comments Alcott. “With my passions being sport and music, it’s a game-changer to work with Live Nation and Ticketmaster to make live more accessible and inclusive for all.
“now is the time for us all to find solutions”
“If we can start by getting more fans with accessibility needs to events, not only we will change people’s lives through the power of live, but we will improve the industry overall.”
The partnership kicked off with a joint address by Alcott and his Get Skilled Access co-founder, Nick Morris, to 400 venue industry professionals at the recent Venue Management Association Asia-Pacific Congress.
“Thanks to Live Nation and Ticketmaster, the tools and safe conversation that was presented to us in that one hour was the most beneficial conversation I have had at a conference in years,” says Bernie Haldane, deputy director and head of programming and presenter services at Auckland Live.
In the UK, Live Nation and Ticketmaster are members of the Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition, which aims to improve the ticket-buying experience for disabled and deaf audiences.
LN Australasia appoints new brand partnership president
Live Nation has announced the appointment of Greg Segal to president of brand and partnerships for Australia and New Zealand.
Segal takes on the newly created position after serving as managing director of Sydney agency mixitup, which he founded in 2006.
Since Live Nation acquired a majority stake in mixitup in 2013, Segal has been responsible for the creation and leadership of the current brand partner programme, forming partnerships with Optus, Amex Air New Zealand, Spark NZ, Virgin Australia and more.
“Since we originally partnered with Greg in 2013, he has developed world-class brand partnerships for the Australian and New Zealand markets,” says Alan Ridgeway, chairman of Live Nation Asia Pacific. “We welcome working more closely with Greg to build on both existing and new brand partnerships in his new role with Live Nation.”
Russell Wallach, LiveNation’s global president of sponsorship and media, adds: “Greg has a proven track record of creating ground-breaking brand partnerships and this opportunity will see him leading a team of specialists in Australia and New Zealand to craft end-to-end solutions for leading brands in music and entertainment.”
“Greg [Segal] has a proven track record of creating ground-breaking brand partnerships”
Segal, who will be based in Sydney and report to Ridgeway and Wallach, says, “Over the last few years we have built a great team and a fantastic group of brand partners. I am excited to be able to continue to work with the team to deliver unforgettable live experiences to music fans across Australia and New Zealand”.
2018 was a record year for Live Nation Australia with high-profile tours including Pink, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars and Shania Twain. This year brings Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Fleetwood Mac, Maroon 5, Metallica, Childish Gambino and Post Malone and more to the country.
Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, has had a presence in Australia since 2012, when it acquired Michael Coppel Presents (MCP). MCP was later rebranded Live Nation Australia with Coppel as chief executive (he became chairman in March 2017, handing over the CEO reins to Roger Field).
Once mainly ran by independents, the touring landscape in Australia recently lost its last major indie promoter, as Michael Gudinski’s Frontier Touring joined forced with global concert conglomerate AEG Presents. Gudinski had merged with fellow Australian promoter Michael Chugg’s Chugg Entertainment in April.
Another leading independent promoter down under, Paul Dainty of the Dainty Group, sold his business to TEG, the parent company of leading ticketing platform Ticketek, in 2016.
FastForward returns to Sydney for 2019 conference
FastForward Sydney is returning for its second edition this year, as the forward-looking music industry conference explores topics including the power of live music, eco-friendly touring and the future of music festivals.
The second outing of FastForward Sydney takes place from Thursday 11 to Friday 12 April in the Aerial UTS Function Centre at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
The Sydney edition is the third leg of the FastForward conference series. Media Insight Consulting chief executive Chris Carey founded the flagship Amsterdam event in 2016, adding a London-based conference in 2017, before expanding into the Australasian market last year.
The conference consists of a series of keynotes, panel discussions, mini-keynote presentations and networking opportunities.
Keynote talks this year come from Heidi Lenffer of Australian alternative rock group Cloud Control, who will discuss solutions for greener touring, and Genevieve O’Neil of In Chorus, who will present ideas on how to accelerate the process towards diversity and inclusion in the music industry.
The Sydney edition is the third leg of the FastForward conference series
Australian singer-songwriter Emma Donovan will also appear in a keynote talk, joining journalist Rod Yates in conversation.
Mini-keynote sessions include Live Nation Australasia’s Michelle Lucia, who will present on the power of the live industry for artists, brands and fans, and Rachel Maria Cox of Australian promotions and events agency Sad Grrrls Club, who will speak about their experience running a gender diverse agency and record label.
Panels include ‘Are Niches the Future of Music Festivals’ and ‘Key Trends in the Global Music Industry’. A discussion on how the music industry may influence government policy features representatives from Music New South Wales, Australian music rights organisation APRA AMCOS and the New South Wales shadow minister for music, John Graham.
Australasian live market an “undiscovered gem”
Australia’s live entertainment market may be worth more than US$1bn, but it’s still an “undiscovered gem” with huge potential for growth, Live Nation Australasia CEO Roger Field has said.
“If you crack it, this is a fantastic market,” Field, who was promoted to CEO last March, tells IQ. “We are still, I think, an undiscovered gem in live music. [W]e punch above our weight in the quality and quantity of events we produce, whether they’re international or local, touring or festivals…”
Live entertainment is increasingly big business in Asia, with “explosive growth” predicted for huge but developing markets such as China and India, and Field adds that Australia and New Zealand are perfectly situated to capitalise on the demand.
“No one has really cracked Asia yet,” he explains. “Australia and New Zealand particularly have the opportunity to be a flywheel to develop stuff and make it grow in Asia and become feasible.”
Across the Tasman, Scottish-born live industry veteran Stuart Clumpas – recently tapped to lead LN’s activities in NZ as chairman of Live Nation New Zealand – says the local music community and live infrastructure has grow up since he migrated there 17 years ago. “We’ve come so far,” he says.
However, “irrespective of how much I love it here,” Clumpas adds, “it’s logistically challenged at the edge of the planet. NZ needs a strong international partner. What we’ve done [with LN New Zealand] is retain a lot of the uniqueness of the personal touch but also use that muscle to be able to grow the territory, bring more people here and make more people aware of New Zealand.”
While all the traditional ‘big four’ promoters – Michael Chugg (founder of Chugg Entertainment), Michael Coppel (who was promoted from CEO to chairman of Live Nation Australasia in 2017), Michael Gudinski (chairman of Mushroom Group and head of Frontier Touring) and Paul Dainty (president and CEO of TEG Dainty) – report a strong start to 2018, primarily with major international acts, the number of local artists making an impact on the global stage is also arguably at an all-time high.
“Australia and New Zealand, particularly, have the opportunity to be a flywheel to develop stuff and make it grow in Asia”
Business right now is “the strongest I have ever seen for the local artists we represent,” says Stephen Wade, CEO of Sydney-based Select Music, which has Aussie artists the Amity Affliction, the Temper Trap and Boy & Bear, and Kiwi singers Gin Wigmore, Tim Finn and Ladyhawke, on its books.
“Many of them have forged paths overseas, so this takes pressure off potentially overplaying the Australian market and diminishing their crowds,” he explains.
Australia has scored a flurry of goals in the past five years, led by the likes of Sia, Vance Joy, Tame Impala, Flume, Alison Wonderland, 5 Seconds of Summer, Courtney Barnett and more, while the DMA’s, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Tash Sultana and others are coming through. New Zealand’s music scene is also on the up, with its best-known export Lorde snagging a no1 on the Billboard 200 in 2017 with her second album, Melodrama.
Gudinski, who attributes his son Matt, also an executive at the Melbourne-based Mushroom Group, for helping reinvigorate the indie powerhouse, adds: “There is life left in bands, and there’s a reality that there will be massive hit songs in the top ten that wouldn’t see a 1,000-capacity pub. The times they are a changing.
“But great music will always come back and stand up – it’s cyclic. And at the moment, within the labels, there’s a great group of Australian and NZ artists who could explode.”
Read the full Australia/New Zealand market report, which also includes contributions from Michael Chugg, Bluesfest’s Peter Noble, AEG Ogden’s Rod Pilbeam and more, in issue 78 of IQ Magazine.
Up and Down Under: Australia/NZ market report
IQ’s Brisbane-based correspondent, Lars Brandle, speaks with the leading players to get a feel for the billion-dollar-plus Australasian industry that never fails to impress
First, the bad news. Although there are no disasters to speak of. Business is solid, live professionals say, though dotted with hurdles and frustrations. The touring cycle has been in a trough in recent years, according to data published by Live Performance Australia (LPA), which reports that attendance is up, ticket prices are down and the business has cooled from its lava-hot peak years.
The numbers tell just part of the evolving picture. Running shows in Australia and New Zealand has always had its myriad challenges, along with some new ones. But, depending on who you speak with, it also involves some serious rewards.
Data published by LPA in October 2017 suggests the business for contemporary music concerts, which include rock, pop and hip-hop shows, has been well down from the banner years earlier in the decade. Contemporary music remains, by far, the biggest category, and is “always the engine room of the live performance industry,” says LPA’s director of policy and governance, Kim Tran, accounting for more than 30% of all revenue. During 2016, the segment experienced a 7.9% dip to AU$440 million (€284m), as attendance grew slightly by 1.9% to 5.7m. Those numbers don’t include box office data from 2017 stadium tours by Justin Bieber or Adele.
With a slew of huge tours booked for 2018, and a “golden generation” of Aussie and Kiwi acts crossing borders, many live industry professionals polled by IQ are confident that the industry is in good shape. Business right now is “the strongest I have ever seen for the local artists we represent,” says Stephen Wade, CEO of the Sydney-based Select Music agency, which has Aussie artists the Amity Affliction, the Temper Trap and Boy & Bear, and Kiwi singers Gin Wigmore, Tim Finn and Ladyhawke, on its books.
“All of the major promoters were, and are, epic businesses… It’s led us to skip a generation of concert promoters”
“Many of them have forged paths overseas, so this takes pressure off potentially overplaying the Australian market and diminishing their crowds,” explains Wade, who won Booking Agent of the Year at the inaugural Industry Observer Awards on 27 March this year.
Australia has scored a flurry of goals in the past five years, led by the likes of Sia, Vance Joy, Tame Impala, Flume, Alison Wonderland, 5 Seconds of Summer, Courtney Barnett and more, owhile the DMA’s, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Tash Sultana and others are coming through. New Zealand’s music scene is also on the up, with its best-known export Lorde snagging a no1 on the Billboard 200 in 2017 with her second album, Melodrama.
The concert landscape of the Great Southern Land is still dominated by “the big four”: Michael Chugg (founder of Chugg Entertainment), Michael Coppel (who was promoted from CEO to chairman of Live Nation Australasia in 2017), Michael Gudinski (chairman of Mushroom Group and head of Frontier Touring) and Paul Dainty (president and CEO of TEG Dainty). That elite circle is proving tough to crack, though the young guard is making its move in a different way.
“The Australian festival culture was born out of people trying to find their way into the business without necessarily having to compete with those big businesses,” notes Live Nation’s Roger Field, who stepped up from COO to CEO in 2017. “All of the major promoters were, and are, epic businesses when you look at the turnover. It’s led us to skip a generation of concert promoters, per se, but we’ve got that mid-tier generation in festival producers.”
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