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August 12, 2022

Fan Demand Has Never Been Stronger Says Live Nation CEO, Michael Rapino

Live Nation has posted some record-breaking Q2 results. It’s just the beginning of the resurgence of the live events industry says their CEO.

Michael Rapino, CEO Live Nation

Live Nation’s CEO, Michael Rapino, has shared promising and exciting forecasts for the live events and music industry. Speaking on Live Nation’s quarterly update call, Rapino shared the strong Q2 results for the global entertainment company but noted that whilst reflective of Live Nation’s own successes, the results are also part of a global uptick in live music even as other macroeconomic factors affect other industries. 

Fan Demand Has Never Been Stronger 

Rapino told listeners that “Artists are back on the road and fan demand has never been stronger. The reflection of live events remains a clear priority for consumers as our social lives restart.” 

“Ticket buying serves as a leading indicator to our overall business. Ticketmaster's strong first quarter performance drove the company's overall profitability and shows how well our concert and sponsorship businesses are positioned to deliver record results this year.”

He added that, “Despite some markets taking longer to reopen, the quarter was our second highest ever we transacted GTV (gross transactional value), excluding refunds, trailing only Q4 2021 with March being our highest transacted GTV month ever.”

“Fan demand and signing of new contracts accelerated even faster than expected this quarter,” adding that “approximately 11 million fans attended our shows in the first quarter compared to 15 million fans in 2019.”

As global interest rates and inflation rise, it’s clear that fans still value live music and events and will continue to buy tickets to experience live music in uncertain economic times. 

Secondary Ticketing Contributing To Exponential Growth 

“Our secondary ticketing GTV growth was even higher up (compared to primary ticketing) 106% relative to 2019 driven largely by average retail ticket price up 20% relative to 2019 and a tremendous fan demand pushed up the market pricing.”

Long a pain for promoters like Live Nation, the embracing of the secondary ticketing market is now returning even larger areas of growth for them than primary ticketing. Providing and regulating a secondary ticketing market where fans can re-sell legally if their circumstances change, means more growth and additional fan demand is satisfied for those who missed out at the initial on sale. 

Ticket Sales and Show Count Skyrocketing to Unprecedented Levels 

“​​70 million tickets are now sold for shows in 2022, up to 36 million, compared to 2019 and committed show count is up 44% through the end of April, relative to 19%, setting us up for continued ticket sales over the year,” Rapino noted. 

With both ticket sales and show counts reaching levels that they have not even pre-pandemic, this is a healthy and positive outlook for the future of the industry. 

Number of No-Show Fans Reducing 

A major issue live events faced globally as the world re-opened following the pandemic, Rapino says it’s encouraging to see fan no shows reducing. “We continue to see the fans are showing up for the concerts they have tickets for, with attendance rates in the US across all venue types at 2019 levels with no shows generally in the low mid-single digits.” 

Market-Based Pricing to Continue, Yet Shows Are Still Affordable

A current hot topic, given some of the ludicrous prices quoted for tickets for big names such as Bruce Springsteen, Rapino notes that market-based pricing is going nowhere due to fan-set pricing through the demand on secondary ticketing platforms.

“The industry continues to embrace market-based pricing, particularly on the best tickets, shifting $500 million to artists for shows this year, resulting from a double-digit increase in ticket pricing and reducing the price arbitrage in the secondary market.”

He goes on to add though that the majority of tickets at shows are still affordable and accessible.

“At the same time in the US, the average entry level price to get in and enjoy the show remains under $35, approachable for almost all fans. Early reads on consumer spending on our shows across the US and UK also indicate fans continue their spending when they get to the show.”

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