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Australia’s live event industry lost $1.4bn in 2020

Covid-19 stripped Australia’s live entertainment industry of AUS$1.4 billion in revenue during 2020, a new report has found.

Following record years in 2018 and 2019, the pandemic had a “devastating impact” on the live sector, according to Live Performance Australia’s Ticket Attendance and Revenue Report.

The ticketing data shows close to 70% of revenue and attendance was obliterated after the industry was shut down in March last year.

In 2020, the number of tickets issued to live performance events fell by 68% to under eight million, ticket sales revenue fell by 69% to $600m, and the average ticket price fell from $92.89 to $87.14.

Live Performance Australia’s chief executive, Evelyn Richardson, says: “EY’s analysis of 2019 and 2020 data clearly shows the massive hit the live entertainment industry took in 2020.

“Ongoing restrictions, lockdowns and border closures caused significant disruption to an industry heavily reliant on national touring. These are stark numbers.”

“Ongoing restrictions, lockdowns and border closures caused disruption to an industry heavily reliant on national touring”

The report breaks down live entertainment into categories: contemporary music, music theatre, festivals (contemporary music), theatre, festivals (multi-category), circus and physical theatre, comedy, classical music, opera, children’s/family, ballet and dance, and special events.

Contemporary Music, a category that includes rock, pop and hip-hop concerts, remained the biggest category, accounting for over 50% total revenue of live performance at $309m and 37% of attendances (nearly 3 million).

However, the sector experienced an overall decline of 63% in revenue and 65% in attendance between 2019 and 2020.

Contemporary music festivals drew nearly 437,500 people in 2020, generating over $54.2m from ticket sales.

However, the category suffered a staggering 70% loss in both attendance and revenue compared to 2019, due to bans on mass gatherings, border closures and density limits introduced as part of Covid-19.

Major festivals in this category in 2020 were Falls Downtown, WOMADelaide and St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival.

Contemporary music festivals suffered a staggering 70% loss in both attendance and revenue compared to 2019

According to Richardson, Australia’s live entertainment business has a long road to recovery: “The forecast for the next 12 months indicates industry viability is seriously threatened with reactivation and recovery now delayed. The lag time required to plan and deliver events sees companies trying to retain staff to work on pipeline events through Q4 and well into the middle of next year.”

Richardson reiterated calls for an insurance scheme for the business, echoing sentiments previously shared by not only LPA but other industry bodies.

“We expect the impacts of Covid-19 in 2021 maybe even greater given our two major markets [NSW, VIC] have been closed for extended periods,” she said, “and these impacts have seen business confidence collapse and the industry needs an insurance scheme to underwrite investment risk in 2022/23.

“The live music and entertainment industry also urgently requires a targeted, Business Reactivation package to ensure we retain capacity to operate when border, venue capacity and operational restrictions are eased. While much of the economy will be returning to pre-Covid activity, the live music and entertainment industry will be constrained by venue capacity and border restrictions for some months.”

Read the LPA’s full report here.

 


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LN share price hits all time high post Q2 results

Live Nation’s latest financial report shows strong growth for the company, which has grown its share price by 50% in 2019 so far.

The results follow a successful first quarter for the live entertainment behemoth, with shares rising from US$48 to $72.5 since the start of the year. Shares hit a high of $73 yesterday (25 July), up $2 from the pre-results release, settling at $72.5 at market close.

Shares in Live Nation (LYV) have grown at an increasingly swift rate, breaking the $70 mark just one year after hitting $50 in July 2018. The second quarter of 2017 saw the company top the $40 mark for the first time, just six months after breaking $30.

In Thursday’s earnings call, Live Nation president and chief executive Michael Rapino stated he was “excited” about the acquisition of a $480m stake in leading Latin American promoter Ocesa, as it “lays a big foundation to how we can continue to build our Latin American business.”

In Q2, Live Nation grew revenue to $3.2 billion, up 10% on the previous year’s figures, with operating income up 27% to $172 million and adjusted operating income (AOI) up 23% to $319m.

“The demand for live music is strong and growing from the largest stadiums to the local clubs”

Ticket revenues grew by 16% for the first half of the year. Ticket sales for artists outside the company’s top 100 increased 32%, “demonstrating that the demand for live music is strong and growing from the largest stadiums to the local clubs.”

In the second quarter alone, a record number of 27 million fans attended 10,000 shows, up 7% and 9% respectively from the previous year.

Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster grew operating income 31%. Partnerships with venues such as Evenko in Canada and the O2 in Prague, Czech Republic, have contributed to the ticketing service’s presence this quarter.

“2019 is on track for the company to deliver double-digit operating income and AOI growth along with strong gains in revenue,” says Rapino. “Each of our businesses is contributing to this success.”

 


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LN reports strong start to 2019, Q1 revenue up 17%

Live Nation’s first quarter earnings show 2019 is off to a strong start, following the company’s eighth consecutive year of record annual results in 2018.

In the first quarter of 2019, revenue was up 17% to US$1.7 billion in comparison to Q1 2018 and adjusted operating income (AOI) was at its the highest-ever for a first quarter at $115 million. The entertainment behemoth ran at an operating loss of $24m.

Live Nation states that its concerts segment is the “engine that powers the overall growth” of the company. Almost 15 millions fans attended Live Nation concerts during Q1, up 22% year-on-year. As of mid-April, the company had sold over 49m tickets so far this year, up 5% from Q1 2018.

The company’s arena and theatre shows led this growth, each up over a million fans. Concerts revenue was up 27% and operating loss for the segment improved by 7%. Live Nation notes that demand has not diminished despite an increase in pricing of 30% over the past two years at arena and amphitheatre shows.

“We expect that Live Nation will deliver double-digit operating income and AOI growth for the full year”

Ticketing revenue was down 9% from Q1 2018, although Ticketmaster delivered its fourth highest gross transaction value quarter ever. Live Nation puts the decrease down to the moving forward of on sales to Q4 2018. By mid April, Ticketmaster had sold four million more concert tickets for 2019 shows than at the same time last year.

Typically the “lowest activity quarter for sponsorship”, sponsorship revenue increased by 1%, operating income by 3% and AOI by 2%. The company expects growth in this area to be driven by festival and strategic partners, including Rogers Communications in Canada and Diageo in Europe.

“We are pleased with our first quarter results as a start to what we expect to be another year of growth in 2019,” says Live Nation chief executive, Michael Rapino.

Rapino predicts further acceleration of growth in Q2. “With the combination of this near-term view plus concert ticket sales for the year, sponsorship commitments, and the continued success of the Ticketmaster platform, we expect that Live Nation will deliver double-digit operating income and AOI growth for the full year,” says the Live Nation boss.

 


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Eventim half year results show significant gains

CTS Eventim released its latest financial results today (23 August), which indicate significant growth in revenue and earnings in the first six months of 2018. Of all its divisions, live entertainment saw the biggest gains with revenue rising 36 per cent to €429.1 million, and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) up 57.4 per cent to €28.5 million.

The news follows an already successful first quarter, details of which were released back in May, and despite market conditions including fewer major tours and presales “due to the FIFA World Cup.”

In the first half of 2018, group revenue for the company rose to €606.6 million, up 24.2 per cent from €488.5 million over the same period in 2017. Normalised EBITDA climbed to €94.1 million, up 12.5 per cent on last year.

Eventim’s ticketing division reported revenue increases of 3.1 per cent to €183.4 million, and a normalised EBITDA of €65.6 million, slightly higher than last year. This, the company says, is despite the expense of implementing GDPR regulations throughout its operations. In all, the company sold 22.4 million tickets, with web ticketing volume up almost 10 per cent.

“This is a clear indication that we are well-equipped for further growth – not only in our present markets, but also beyond”

Commenting on the news, CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg explained the boost in revenue and earnings was down to both live entertainment and ticketing. “Our strong Live Entertainment business and our online ticketing operations played a major role here.”

Last year, the company hit revenue in excess of €1 billion for the first time ever. Commenting on the news, CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg says, “this is a clear indication that we are well-equipped for further growth – not only in our present markets, but also beyond.”

 


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75%+ of richest artists’ income is from touring

On average, the ten highest-paid artists made more than three quarters of their income last year from touring, reveals a new list of music’s biggest money-makers.

The list, compiled by Billboard, combines revenue from sales, streaming, publishing and touring. Of the top ten – Beyoncé, Guns N’ Roses, Bruce Springsteen, Drake, Adele, Coldplay, Justin Bieber, Luke Bryan, Kanye West and Kenny Chesney, in that order – only one placed artist, Drake, earnt more from recorded music than from live.

Beyoncé (pictured) brought in US$4.3 million from sales, $1.9m from streaming and $1.3m from publishing, but $54.7m from touring (her Formation world tour was the highest grossing of the year); for second-placed Guns N’ Roses, meanwhile, the figures are $771,700, $670,800, $499,600 and $40.4m, respectively.

Beyoncé’s Formation world tour grosses $256m

Drake, the sole exception to the rule, earnt $18.1m from streaming compared to $13.6m from touring. Kanye West’s streaming performance was also strong ($7.6m), although it was still under half the $15.4m he took home from live shows.

Added together, income from sales, streaming and publishing for the top ten totalled around $71.1m – or just 24.4% of the $291.7m they made from touring.

Music streaming is, of course, on the rise, climbing 9.9% in the first six months of 2017 alone. But –Drake aside – Billboard’s charts illustrate how even the world’s biggest artists are struggling to make significant money from streaming – and prove once again that it’s a good time to be in the concert business…

 


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Australian live industry contracts in 2015

Live entertainment revenues and attendance both fell in Australia last year, reveals new data that Live Performance Australia (LPA) says underlines the “critical importance of a more strategic policy approach from the [government] for the live performance industry”.

The trade body’s Ticket Attendance and Revenue Survey 2015 reveals revenues declined 6.7%, to A$1.41 billion, and attendances 0.9%, to 18.38 million tickets sold, despite a 4.7% decline in average ticket prices.

“These figures underscore the economic and cultural value of the live performance industry for millions of Australians – but the [Malcolm] Turnbull government hasn’t always matched this with policy direction or commitments,” says LPA chief executive Evelyn Richardson.

“Instead, we have seen cuts to Australia Council funding for small to medium organisations, and more recently massive and unjustified increases in visa fees for large international touring groups.

“We strongly believe the government needs to support greater investment in our industry, which … enriches the cultural lives of millions of Australians”

“We strongly believe that the government needs to support greater investment in our industry, which creates jobs, employs more than 34,000 people, generates significant economic activity and enriches the cultural lives of millions of Australians.

“At the very least we require more effective consultation with government ministers and departments well before any changes that may affect our industry are considered.”

Continuing the trend seen in previous years, the survey found contemporary music and musical theatre to be the two largest contributors to the live industry, generating 34% and 23.8% of revenue, respectively.

Single-category festivals (ie only music) only managed third, hit by the December 2015 cancellation of Big Day Out. Similarly, 2016’s figures are likely to be affected by the surprise cancellation of SFX’s Stereosonic.

 


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Liberty grows after “exceptional” LN results

Greg Maffei, the CEO and president of Live Nation stakeholder Liberty Media Corporation, praised the live entertainment giant’s “exceptional” second-quarter (Q2) 2016 financial results as Liberty Media posted a US$144 million increase in revenue compared to Q2 2015.

Liberty Media, which owns a 34% stake in Live Nation, grew its revenue to $1.366 billion in Q2 2016, up from $1.222bn this time last year.

Operating income increased from $171m to $328m, and adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) – which excludes non-cash severance plan costs, share-based payment costs and deferred stock compensation – from $418m to $455m.

“Live Nation delivered a very strong quarter, and leading indicators point to another record year in 2016”

In the Liberty Media Group stock group, specifically – of which Liberty’s holdings in Live Nation are part – loss decreased from $17m to $12m, and adjusted OIBDA remained static, at -$7m.

Live Nation “delivered a very strong quarter”, said Maffei in Liberty’s earnings call on Friday, “and leading indicators across concerts and ticketing sales, sponsorship and advertising are pointing to another record year in 2016”.

Maffei (pictured), who last month reportedly offered $3.4bn for music streaming service Pandora in a bid to bring it and Live Nation under one roof, was reelected to the Live Nation board with an increased majority in June.

 


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Rapino hails new partners as TM posts 14% growth

Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino has highlighted Ticketmaster’s embrace of new distribution channels as being key to its 14% growth in the second quarter (Q2) of 2016, in which it increased global gross transaction value (GTV) to US$5.7 billion.

In Live Nation’s Q2 earnings conference call, held from 22.00–23.00 GMT (17.00–18.00 EST) last night, Rapino told investors and press that, “through the deployment of APIs [application program interfaces] with key partners such as Facebook” – through which Ticketmaster began selling its inventory in April – “BandsinTown and Broadway.com, along with traditional distribution partners such as Groupon, we increased sales by 30% in the first half to more than five million tickets”, and said the company sees “these and other distribution partners, including teams and artists, as a key way to extend our reach and continue selling more tickets powered by Ticketmaster”.

Following the trend seen in Live Nation’s 2015 year-end and Q1 2016 results, secondary ticketing also remained strong, delivering GTV growth of over 20% for the ninth consecutive quarter to over $300 million – up 49% on this time last year – with Rapino also drawing attention to the Ticketmaster’s move towards “super-serve specialised vertical segments”, such as Front Gate for festivals and TicketWeb for smaller clubs, which grew by 31% and 12%, respectively.

“Through the deployment of APIs with key partners such as Facebook, BandsinTown and Broadway.com, we increased sales by 30% to more than five million tickets”

Elsewhere in the Live Nation group, revenue was up 26% from concerts – “through mid-July we have sold over 50 million tickets for our concerts that take place this year, pacing 17% ahead of this point last year,” explained Rapino – and 17% from its sponsorship/advertising business, with “roughly 50 sponsors” expected to spend over $1m this year, an increase of 18%.

Rapino also took time to praise Live Nation’s recent acquisitions – Governors Ball festival in New York, Parklife festival in London and the Palais Theatre in Melbourne – and the company’s improvements in the “on-site fan experience”, which delivered a $2-per-fan net increase in revenue at Live Nation amphitheatres.

“After our strong performance in the first half of the year, we expect 2016 to be another year of growth and record results for the company,” concluded Rapino. “Based on our leading indicators in concerts, sponsorship and advertising and ticketing, we expect revenue and AOI [adjusted operating income] growth in each of these businesses and overall for Live Nation this year.”

 


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StubHub revenues grow 40%, outperforming eBay avg

StubHub revenues increased by 40% in the second quarter (Q2) of 2016, earning parent company eBay US$225 million and vastly outperforming eBay Inc. as a whole.

eBay’s Q2 2016 financial results also reveal the secondary ticket marketplace, which last week announced the acquisition of inventory-management software developer Ticket Utils, grew its gross merchandise volume (GMV) – or the amount of tickets sold – to $1.1 billion, up 35% on Q1, “aided by strength across multiple genres and the continued benefit from ongoing product innovation”.

Revenue for eBay Inc. – which in addition to StubHub comprises the eBay marketplace and its recently introduced eBay Classifieds site – was $2.2bn, up 7% on an ‘FX-neutral’ basis (adjusted for currency fluctuations), while GMV was $20.9bn.

StubHub sold $1.1bn worth of tickets in Q2, up 35% on the previous quarter

“Q2 was another good quarter where we delivered strong results and had acceleration in growth,” comments Devin Wenig, eBay Inc.’s president and CEO (pictured). “We are now one year into executing our strategy to provide the best choice, the most relevance and the most powerful selling platform, and there are signs of momentum in our business. We continue to invest in our platforms to ensure eBay is a global commerce leader for years to come.”

Live Nation is also doing good business from its secondary ticketing platforms. Its Q2 results are expected later this month, but in Q1 the company’s resale sites – such as TicketsNow and TicketsExchange in North America and Get Me In! and Seatwave in the UK – grew 43%, contributing to Ticketmaster’s biggest-ever month in February.

 


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