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Demand for concerts continues rising and bolstering the revenue of ticket seller and concert promoter and operator Live Nation.
The company reported total first-quarter revenue of $3.1 billion, up from $1.8 billion a year earlier and above analyst expectations. Concerts brought in $2.3 billion of that revenue, up from $1.2 billion, while ticketing increased to $678 million, from $480 million. Live Nation reported a loss of 25 cents per share, compared to a loss of 39 cents per share the prior year.
This comes as the company was able to operate in all of its markets worldwide for the first time in three years (Asia was the last market to reopen). The company sold more than 145 million tickets in its first quarter.
So far, Live Nation, which owns Ticketmaster, has sold close to 90 million tickets for concerts this year, which is up 20 percent from this time last year. The early sales numbers have included tickets to concerts from Beyoncé, Drake and Bruce Springsteen.
The company sold 73 million fee-bearing tickets, up 40 percent from the prior year, with executives saying that the company is seeing growth in both volume and pricing.
All of this is against the backdrop of increased regulatory pushback, including an investigation by the Department of Justice, and feedback from consumers, who spoke out after experiencing errors and long wait times trying to purchase tickets for Taylor Swift’s Eras tour this past fall.
Live Nation adjusted its ticket-selling process during the later on-sale for Beyoncé by spreading out the sale dates over a longer time period. This meant that when bot attacks or other problems arose, “a minimal number” of shows were impacted and Ticketmaster was able to devote resources to fixing the problem.
Asked on the earnings call about whether new legislation introduced will impact Live Nation’s business, CFO Joe Berchtold said the company was supportive of the bills and view them as helpful to the business.
Live Nation itself introduced the FAIR Ticketing Act, which places regulations on the secondary ticketing market, bots and makes it illegal to sell speculative tickets. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) introduced the Ticket Act, which is meant to crack down on hidden fees. And Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Mn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct.) recently introduced a bill entitled “Unlock Ticketing Markets Act,” which would allow the Federal Trade Commission to take action on companies setting multi-year exclusive contracts with venues.
“We are aligned on all of these bills. We think all of these bills, we’ve said continually for a long time, is better for our business, because it helps us deliver a better onsale and fan experience,” Berchtold said.
Pressed further on whether Klobuchar’s bill, which appears to take direct aim at Live Nation and could cut down on its exclusive contracts, would impact the company, Berchtold countered that the bill would harm the venues, not Live Nation.
“These are the venues rights and the venues have been figuring out over time, how do they best monetize certain rights they have. What they have determined is the best way to monetize those rights in the US is by auctioning them off for exclusivity,” Berchtold said. “So I think frankly were there to be any changes in exclusivity, it’s the venues that would be hurt the most because they would lose the ability to fully maximize their rights.”
“We’re very confident with the quality of our systems, its ability to handle onsales in a way that no other system can do,” Berchtold continued, adding that the Klobuchar bill does yet not have bipartisan support, which could hamper its success.
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