While the music industry has been on pretty much a standstill when it comes to concerts and events for the past two months, there still seems to be no end in sight.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic sparing none, Live Nation which is one of the largest promoters has taken a hit by massive cancellations and postponements. The company on Thursday reported a 21% drop in revenue for its first quarter, with concert revenue alone dipping 25% and ticket revenue dropping 16% year over year. Shares of Live Nation which also owns ticketing company Ticketmaster, have dropped about 48% since February.
Thinking on the fly and getting innovative is the need of the hour for the industry and for an industry leader like Live Nation, they are expected to lead the way. Speaking about what they have in the pipeline on Live Nation’s investor earnings call, President and CEO of Live Nation Entertainment, Michael Rapino, said the company would test crowd-less shows which could be broadcasted along with drive-in concerts and reduced capacity festival shows over the summer.
He said, “Whether it’s in Arkansas or a state that is safe, secure and politically is fine to proceed in, we’re going to dabble in fanless concerts with broadcasts, we’re going to go and do reduced capacity shows because we can make the math work. There are a lot of great artists that can sell out an arena, but they’ll do 10 higher-end smaller theatres or clubs. We’re seeing lots of artists chomping to get back out once it’s safe.”
While the concept of a drive-in concert seems genius, we have already seen early concerts like this pop up in parts of Europe. BigCityBeats, the team behind the famed World Club Dome totally brought to life the true meaning of “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” The company hosted the world’s first-ever “drive-in rave” in Germany.
After saying their strategies will vary from country to country, as had the impact of the pandemic. Rapino also went on to say, “So it’s important for us to keep doing drive-in concerts, which we’re going to test and roll out, which we’re having some success with, fanless concerts which have great broadcasting opportunities, reduced capacity festival concerts, which could be outdoors, could be in a theatre, could be in a large stadium floor where there’s enough room to be safe. We have all of these plans in place depending on the market and where that local city may sit in their reopening phases.”
While the company is financially hurting, they have taken a number of cost-cutting measures to keep going. The measures to soften the blow included CEO Michael Rapino forgoing the remainder of his salary, and other executives taking up to 50% salary reductions. The company also introduced furloughs and hiring freezes and opened up a $120 million revolving credit loan. The company is now targeting $600 million in cost-cutting measures for 2020, it said on Thursday’s earnings call, reported Rolling Stone.
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