Live Nation took a big hit over the last year, losing roughly 95% of their revenue. Even with that hit to revenue, they’re optimistic that concerts will return “at scale” next year.
Live Nation Pivots to Drive-Ins
On Nov. 5, Live Nation Entertainment reported $184 million in total revenue from July through September, as compared to $3.7 billion in the third quarter of 2019. The second quarter saw a 98 percent loss in revenue, and while the company did host drive-in shows, most of its venues remained closed since the coronavirus pandemic shut down the country in March.
“There have been no major changes in our business conditions or outlook over the past three months, and while we see signs of promise around the world as some live events return, most regions we operate in continue to have various restrictions on live events. For now, we continue to maintain a strong cash management discipline while planning for the ramp up to resume live shows as soon as possible,” Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino said in a press release.
Getting Back to Live Events
“Meanwhile, we are working on our roadmap to get back to live safely. We are encouraged by progress on testing technology, treatments, and vaccines, which helps us build our plans. We still expect shows at scale next summer but recognize that the exact timeline of this return will vary by region, and so we continue to focus on remaining flexible.”
“Live Nation is developing a set of standards for executing shows at our venues. We are collaborating with health experts to create show guidelines that put in place procedures which can adapt to various situations, across all regions. From venue sanitation procedures to fan-friendly policies on ticket purchases and the latest testing options, we are setting standards that will give fans, crews, and artists peace of mind before, during and after the show.”
Rapino added that their survey data shows that 95 percent of fans plan to attend concerts when government restrictions are lifted, noting that 83 percent of global fans are keeping their tickets to rescheduled events rather than asking for refunds. 2021 festivals have also seen strong ticket sales, though most of his examples were overseas.
Ticketmaster Launches SmartEvent
Ticketmaster, the largest ticket distribution company in the United States and a part of Live Nation Entertainment, recently announced the development of SmartEvent, “which includes new products such as our social distancing seat mapping tool and timed entry technology that have been created to give venues the flexibility to plan how to manage everything from venue access to box office interactions,” he described.
“Existing products, including our SafeTix digital ticketing technology, can fulfill new needs, including being a key facilitator for contact tracing when required. And the ability to integrate third-party applications with our digital ticketing platform enables a range of customizable features, from contactless concessions to testing and health questionnaire tracking,” Rapino continued.
“The industry has come together to navigate this unprecedented time. We know fans are eager to return to live events, and collectively share in experiences with their favorite artists, athletes, and actors. We need time to manage through so we are all in a position for that to become a reality, and we look forward to the day when we can come together again.”
Fans who are seeking refunds for previously purchased tickets to any Live Nation show can visit livenationentertainment.com/ticketrefund for more information.
Even though it’s been a rocky year for the music industry and live entertainment in general, Live Nation’s latest report shows that it still has $2.6 billion, including $951 million in free cash. It states: “This free cash, along with $963 million of available debt capacity, provide the company with over $1.9 billion in available liquidity. The company believes this level of liquidity provides it with the ability to fund operations until the expected return of concerts at scale in the summer of 2021, preceded by ticket sales earlier in the year.”
“As we look ahead, it is clear that the path to live will not be a straight line,” Rapino said on Nov. 5.