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The expanding global economy. New ticketing strategies. The consumer want for live events.
These are all at the heart of Live Nation’s strategy to grow its global footprint and strengthen its business lines of concert promotion, venue, ticketing platforms and artist management.
Live Nation CEO and President Michael Rapino sat down with Goldman Sachs analyst Drew Borst for a Talks at GS to discuss where the company is heading.
Here are three takeaways from their discussion.
Markets in Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Rim are building new arenas and venues in hopes of landing Top 100 artists (think U2, Drake and Rihanna). Live Nation itself, Rapino said, has only a 30% share of the global live music business, with “zero” market share in South America and China, 1% in Japan and “nothing” in most of India.
But that’s about to change, or so they hope. Since 2018, Live Nation has acquired a majority stake in a top independent concert promoter in Argentina and a controlling interest in another Latin American concert promoter. They’ve also hired new executives to focus on growth across markets including China, Japan and India.
“We are a global platform,” Rapino said. “The more offices we open up, the more we can monetize. So when U2 gets to India and plays Mumbai, if we have an office there, sponsorship there, the ticketing platform there, we can monetize that show.”
The first is the demand from what Rapino called the “experience economy” – that attending shows will still be high on a consumer’s list of things to do, estimating they’ll attend 2 ½ shows per year.
Rapino said the second factor is affordability, citing the average ticket price to be around $55-$60.
“So I think you’ve got a flexible economy, high consumer demand, lots of pricing opportunity left – we’re not overly worried that if there is a pullback (in the economy) it will have much impact on the global business,” Rapino said.
Live Nation’s dynamic pricing capabilities allows it to adjust pricing similar to how airlines and hotels do, and serves a few objectives.
For an artist or team it’s about developing a go-to-market strategy that includes helping them determine how to price events that fall on different days of the week, sections of an arena or specific sports matchups.
For the fan it’s about allowing them the opportunity to purchase tickets at a reasonable price without having to go through a secondary market, something Live Nation is trying to address with its fan verification program, which is designed to get more face-value tickets in the hands of real fans.
“In the next five years we’ll just continually sit, telling you that there is a huge pricing opportunity to price it better,” Rapino said. “It doesn’t mean more pricing - it just means price it better so it sells through. And that is our main goal.”
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