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LIVE NATION ENJOYS A VERY LOUD Q2

Live Nation has shattered previous financial records as every key operating metric is at an all-time high for the concert-promotion giant.

The company promoted nearly 12,500 concerts attended by 33.5m fans—both numbers were up 20% over the second quarter of 2019, the last time business was at normal levels. The attendance figure is a record for the company.

Revenue was up 40% over 2019’s Q2 to $4.4b, operating income of $319m was up 86% and adjusted operating income enjoyed a 50% spike to $480m. Ticketmaster’s transacted fee-bearing ticket volume was up 48% to 77m tickets as the period was the highest fee-bearing gross-transaction-value quarter ever. Three-quarters of that growth came from concerts.

“With most of the world fully reopened, it’s clear that concerts remain a high priority for fans,” CEO and President Michael Rapino said in announcing the quarterly results. “Consumers are seeking out and spending more on experiences, and the growing demand we are seeing for live music and events is driving our business to record levels, far outpacing any macro issues or cost increases.”

Double-digit attendance increases were seen at all venue levels from clubs and theaters to stadiums and festivals. 

Live Nation has already sold more than 100m tickets this year for LN concerts, more than were sold for all of 2019. Planned sponsorship for the year is fully committed. The U.S. is expected to drive fan growth in Q3, while much of Q2’s growth came from Europe and Latin America.

“As we prepare for 2023,” Rapino said, “everywhere globally is open for concerts, and we are actively routing into all markets with the largest artist pipeline we have ever seen at this point in the year. For the 2023 tours we have put on sale so far, all signs continue pointing to strong fan demand.” 

Show bookings for the rest of 2022 are up more than 30%, while concert-ticket sales for events are up 38%. Part of this owes to the extension of the amphitheater season, which will add 1m fans to Q4’s numbers.

In his prepared remarks, Rapino addressed one of the most-discussed issues in the concert biz this year: dynamic pricing. “With market-based pricing being widely adopted by most tours, we expect to shift over $500m from the secondary market to artists this year, continuing to support those who created the concert and ensuring they are benefiting from it,” Rapino said. He also noted that the average ticket price is an "affordable" $33, only 5% above 2019's average.

During a conference call with analysts, Rapino said the objective of any concert is to fill every seat and that dynamic pricing is part of a "holistic picture." He said it only affects 1% of the tickets in the front of the house and that putting some tickets on a sliding scale allows for lowering the prices in the back of the house.

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