Live Nation posts second-quarter increase

Revenue rises 18% to $1.16 bil

Live Nation has reported a second-quarter net income of $1.2 million, or 2 cents per share, down from a net profit of $9.9 million, or 15 cents a share, during the same period last year.

Revenue at the Los Angeles-based company rose 18% to $1.16 billion from $986.3 million.

"We are pleased to report that the live music industry remains healthy, particularly given the continued economic slowdown that has impacted so many consumer-oriented business," Live Nation president/CEO Michael Rapino said Thursday during a call with investors.

"As expected, concert attendance and per head revenue has held up very well, and the pace of ticket sales remains robust in the current quarter."

Live Nation produced more than 5,800 concerts during the second-quarter, up 42% from last year, according to Rapino. Attendance jumped 14% to 13.7 million, and total revenue per fan rose 6% to $82.18. Sponsorship revenue declined to $44.7 million from $44.9 million. The company executed 623 sponsorship deals during the quarter, and is on track to close more than 1,000 deals in 2008, Rapino said.

Live Nation's North American Music division grew 33% to $619.7 million, while its International Music segment increased 12.5% to $377.2 million.

The company's amphitheater season weathered an iffy economy in the first half of the year, and managed to post some improved numbers. Per-show attendance through July at North American amphitheaters this year, the overwhelming bulk of which are owned and/or operated by Live Nation, is 9,109, up 1,360 people per show over last year, according to Billboard Boxscore.

Meanwhile, Rapino said that Live Nation remains confident in its summer concert schedule, noting that Madonna's fall tour has already sold 1.3 million tickets. "We continue to believe this tour will be Madonna's biggest ever, with the potential of grossing over $240 million in total revenues," he said.

Coldplay's summer tour is 90% sold out, Rapino said, noting that other Live Nation tours include New Kids on the Block, Jonas Brothers, Journey, John Mayer and Rascal Flatts.

Moving to Live Nation's latest batch of multirights deals, Rapino said the company's 10-year agreement with Nickelback expects to generate more than $700 million in revenue. And its 10-year partnership with Shakira could generate more than $800 million in revenue.

"These deals put us on track in meeting our goals of signing a total or four to six major artists to a long-term, multiple-rights deal in 2008," he said.

As Live Nation prepares to launch its own ticket platform in 2009, the company's in-house ticketing sales increased 74% to $7.3 million during the second quarter. Through its existing relationship with Ticketmaster, Live Nation is allowed to sell 10% of its tickets through a "registered fan club mechanism," according to Rapino.

"We've got full staffing in place in all of our venues and box-offices," he said, adding that Live Nation has done ticketing for Bonnaroo and Pemberton festivals. "We're fully on track on execution, costs and transition, and see no stumbling blocks right now."