We already knew the concert business was suffering a pretty big decline, so Live Nation Entertainment’s second quarter results are no surprise. The company lost $34.6 million this quarter, due to the concert slowdown and the merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster earlier this year. You actually didn’t have to look at the second quarter report to know this. Anyone going to a Live Nation show has seen staffers walking around the venues selling cheap tickets for upcoming shows, and one reader of Bob Lefsetz’s blog said that he was given a voucher for two free Creed tickets with an oil change!
So who’s fault is this? Where do we start? For one, Live Nation is punishing the fans that buy tickets early, since they’re now becoming conditioned to just wait until tickets get cheap, or free. On the other end, a lot of artists are charging ridiculous prices to see them, With unemployment hovering around 10%, many are choosing to stay home instead of ponying up $200 to see the Eagles, then paying $12/beer. In addition, the summer concert lineup seems pretty weak this year. U2, who would have helped out Live Nation’s bottom line, canceled because The Pope Bono hurt his back. And with no offense to any of the multi-band festival tours this summer, the lineups are average at best. And while it was nice of them to have a “no service fee” June, how about having waiving most service fees altogether? A convenience charge for buying a ticket online? An additional charge to print it at home? Way to treat your fans like assholes.
And while I’ve been talking mainly about Summer tours, Live Nation’s report only covers up until June 30. Despite their weak showing from April-June, the concert behemoth is claiming the results are in line with their expectations. They say that they’re on track to achieve $40 million in synergies this year. Live Nation Entertainment Executive Chairman Irving Azoff is on Twitter now, and his first tweet showed that he’s going to be an interesting person to follow. With the proclamation “if you want ticket prices to go down stop stealing music,” he’s since taken aim at Billboard‘s Glenn Peoples and Perez Hilton. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Live Nation defending themselves, but people seem to be answering them by staying away from concerts in droves. Stay tuned…