Collecting $8.5B in 2016 concert revenues, Variety reports Live Nation's dominance in the live entertainment business exceeds the combined revenue of Universal Music and Sony Music during the same period.
The booming organization, based in Beverly Hills, presented 26,000 events for more than 70 million fans, according to Live Nation COO Joe Berchtold, and bought equity or complete ownership of such properties as the Governors Ball and Bottlerock Napa Valley music festivals, the Sweden Rock Festival, Lollapalooza Paris, Big Concerts in South Africa and Secret Sounds in Australia, expanding its global reach to even Qatar, where it has formed a joint venture to manage two venues in the Arabic country.
Live Nation, which is estimated to have a presence in over 40 countries, says their business, aside from driving the growth of live music, also expands their Ticketmaster, advertising, on-site businesses and has been drastically helped by social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as digital streaming businesses such as Spotify.
Live Nation's Berchtold says one of the reasons his company is so successful is due to advance communication systems, which make it a smaller world in terms of getting the word out.
“Now the artist connects with those fans truly on a global basis simultaneously," Berchtold told Variety. "So when I was a kid, and The Clash came out, you heard about The Clash in London, New York, L.A., but it might be two years before it got to Oklahoma City, right? And it probably never went to Colombia. Well, when Beyoncé released Lemonade, the girl in Colombia was listening to that album the same minute as the girl in London or in L.A. And you have more followers outside of the U.S. for the major artists than you do in the U.S.”
Gary Bongiovanni, president and editor-in-chief of the concert trade publication Pollstar, says the combination of global organizations like Live Nation and its competitor AEG partnering with local promoters in numerous countries has "greatly expanded" the number of global markets.
“Twenty years ago there were lots of markets where [artists] wouldn’t go because they were worried about getting paid — and that even included places like Italy and Spain,” Bongiovanni says. “If you didn’t get paid in advance, you might not get all your money.
“In today’s world, because you’ve got these giant companies that are doing global tours, artists don’t have any reluctance to go play Paraguay or a lot of obscure markets you don’t normally think about. South America has exploded as a concert market — and a large part of that is because now it’s either a Live Nation or AEG company that’s doing it, or they’re partnering with someone who’s local on the ground that knows what they’re doing. The number of global markets has greatly expanded.”
Ray Waddell, senior VP of media and conferences at Oak View Group, a live-business consultancy and development company co-founded by veteran music manager Irving Azoff and Tim Leiweke, says the Stateside growth in popularity of such music festivals as Bonnaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza has also led to the boom in business.
"Really, with...those major destination festivals, many more have popped up,” Waddell says. “But it’s across all genres, and it hasn’t come at the expense of the other summer businesses, like amphitheaters. It’s really, really healthy, very robust, and it’s continuing to grow.”