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TICKETS DRIVE DOUBLE-DIGIT Q1 GROWTH FOR LIVE NATION

First quarter revenue was up 17% to $1.4b at Live Nation, driven heavily by ticket sales, which were up 22% over Q1 2016. The concert promoter's revenue and share price beat Wall Street expectations.

Through April, the company has sold 46m tickets in 2017, and Ticketmaster enjoyed its largest quarter in history for gross transaction value and ticket volume. Ticketmaster was up 18% in the primary market and 20% in the secondary business. The service added 245 new clients in the quarter and increased online visits by 10%.

 Despite reporting a loss of $33m—or 22 cents per share— in its first quarter, the company reported revenue of $493.7m in ticketing, up 22% ($87.9m) over 2016.

The concerts segment revenue increased 14% on a reported basis, to $863m largely due to increased stadium and arena attendance. Show count for the quarter was flat to last year while the number of concert attendees increased by 22% in the quarter to almost 11m.

“The global concerts industry is structurally growing, with strong tailwinds for both supply and demand,” Live Nation President/CEO Michael Rapino said. “On the supply side, artists are touring now more than ever. And on the demand side, between the millennial shifting of spend to experiences and the globalization of artists on social media, we see continued long-term growth as fans attend more concerts."

Rapino touted the "Verified Fan" product, which aims to put tickets in the hands of fans rather than speculators who buy with the intention of resale. The program has been used with more than 30 acts, among them Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles, and he reports it has reduced by more than 90%, the number of tickets sold on secondary markets.

Live Nation shares hit $31.92 on Thursday, a 42% rise in the last 12 months. The company’s stock is up 20% since the beginning of the year.

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