Live Nation’s Michael Rapino on a ‘roaring era’ for concerts, ticket prices and vaccinations for employees

Dwell music is coming again, and live performance big Live Nation has the steadiness sheet to show it.

Following 5 straight quarters of income decline – beginning in Q1 2020, and adopted by Q2 2020, Q3 2020, Q4 2020 and Q1 of this 12 months – the corporate has lastly been in a position to break freed from the pandemic’s grip on its core enterprise of stay, in-person occasions.

In line with Dwell Nation’s newly-published monetary outcomes for Q2 2021 (the three months to finish of June), robust ticket gross sales and sponsorship commitments for 2022 drove income progress of over half a billion {dollars} ($501.9m), or 677%, year-on-year, to $575.9 million in Q2 2021.

Citing the reopening of communities following Covid lockdowns, Dwell Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino wrote in a letter to shareholders this week that “we’re seeing the pent-up demand for stay occasions play out as artists and followers are wanting to re-connect in individual”.

Rapino famous the corporate is seeing robust ticket gross sales within the US and the UK specifically, “highlighted over the previous weekends by Lollapalooza and Rolling Loud within the US and Latitude within the UK internet hosting a mixed three quarters of one million followers”.

He added: “With vaccine rollouts rising all through Canada and Europe, we count on extra markets to open extra broadly within the coming months.

“The momentum for the return to stay occasions has been constructing each month, with ticket gross sales and live performance attendance pacing quicker than anticipated, underscoring the energy and resiliency of the live performance enterprise and stay occasions on the whole.”

Different vibrant spots from Dwell Nation’s Q2 outcomes included live performance income progress of round $145m or 102% year-on-year, reaching $287m, up from $141.8m in Q2 2020.

In the meantime, Dwell Nation’s ticketing income for Q2 elevated by $331m, to $244m in Q2 2021, from a lack of $87m in Q2 2020.

The corporate bought 30 million tickets within the Q2 2020 (excluding refunds) in contrast with 2m tickets in Q2 final 12 months,  pushed virtually completely by gross sales within the US, largely for live performance and sporting occasions.

Dwell Nation CEO Michael Rapino and President and Chief Monetary Officer Joe Berchtold spoke to analysts about Dwell Nation’s Q2 outcomes on an earnings name this week. We listened in, and right here’s what we came upon…

Michael Rapino says we’ll be coming into a “roaring period” for live shows over the following few years…

All through the numerous months of the stay music enterprise’s pandemic-fuelled uncertainty,  Dwell Nation CEO Michael Rapino has been placing a constructive tone about the way forward for his firm and the stay sector on every quarterly earnings name for the reason that begin of quarantine in 2020.

Again in Could 2020, throughout Dwell Nation’s Q1 earnings name, for instance, he famous that 90% of followers to rescheduled Dwell Nation live shows had held on to their tickets as a substitute of taking refunds, and predicted that 2021 “can return to point out quantity and fan attendance at ranges in step with what we’ve seen in recent times”.

We’re now half manner by means of 2021, with vaccination packages in full swing within the likes of the UK and the US and full-capacity exhibits are happening in consequence. Now, following Dwell Nation’s bumper Q2 wherein it noticed 677% YoY income progress, Rapino’s positivity has become bullishness.

“Trying ahead to 2022 and that 2023, all our main indicators proceed to level to a roaring period for live shows and different stay occasions,” he stated in his opening remarks to analysts this week.

“Trying ahead to 2022 and that 2023, all our main indicators proceed to level to a roaring period for live shows and different stay occasions,” he stated in his opening remarks to analysts this week.”

Michael Rapino

He added: “Beginning with our Live shows division, each main venue sort arenas, amphitheaters, and stadiums, our pipeline indicating double-digit progress in our present rely and ticket gross sales relative to 2019 ranges.

Dwell Nation’s “pipeline is so robust” in some instances he added, that the live performance big is now extending its planning into 2023 and is “starting to debate excursions” that reach into to 2024.

Most of Dwell Nation’s main festivals have “bought out in document time”, says Rapino, although “common ticket costs have been 10% greater than 2019”. Plus, Followers are spending extra at occasions…

As main markets have vaccinated their manner out of Covid-19 lockdowns, and full-scale occasions have been given the inexperienced gentle by lawmakers, followers have been snapping up live performance tickets in document time.

Way back to February, for instance, following a Authorities announcement suggesting large-scale UK occasions would be capable to re-open in June (this was later delayed to mid July), two Dwell Nation festivals – Studying & Leeds and Creamfields – jointly sold 170,000 tickets in simply three days.

In Michael Rapino’s opening remarks to analysts this week, he famous that “most of our main festivals bought out in document time,” regardless of the very fact, in keeping with Rapino, that “common ticket costs have been 10% greater than 2019”.

In different phrases, stay music is again, however it prices extra and followers are glad to pay.

Not solely that, however at Dwell Nation’s amphitheater exhibits over the previous few weeks, says Rapino, the corporate “delivered robust double-digit improve in common per fan income and onsite spending versus 2019”.

“We expect that the product continues to be underpriced, given the entire secondary enterprise.”

Michael Rapino

Requested by an analyst through the name about whether or not or not fan demand is greater or decrease than pre-pandemic ranges, Rapino said that “from the info we’re seeing up to now, all the pieces we appear to be placing on sale is doing higher than pre-pandemic [levels]”.

He then added: “We wish to all the time level out, we expect that the product continues to be underpriced, given the entire secondary enterprise.

“That is nonetheless a gorgeous night time out for a fan. And now that artists touring extra world wide, the fan base has grown for stay as a purposeful — leisure merchandise.

“So, we expect world demand will proceed, have double-digit progress as an trade for a few years to come back as the worldwide panorama continues to develop.”

Dwell Nation will likely be “making certain all our workers are vaccinated” in opposition to Covid-19, says RApino

Quizzed about “the problem of human assets and labor” within the occasions sector, the Dwell Nation execs have been requested if there have been any constraints in “getting folks to come back again to work”.

Joe Berchtold said that Dwell Nation has introduced again over 90% of its furloughed employees, or extra particularly, “of these we’ve known as again, over 90% have returned [from] furlough”.

“We had a reasonably low turnover price,” he added. “We really feel superb about how we’ve been in a position to retain employees. It’s a sworn statement to folks’s dedication to our trade and the tradition that we’ve constructed right here.”

He additionally stated that, as Dwell Nation has been pulling festivals and amphitheater exhibits collectively not too long ago, the corporate has needed to “work a bit tougher at instances to seek out the folks, however it has not impacted our capability to placed on the exhibits”.

The opposite staffing concern, in keeping with Michael Rapino, is one in every of well being.

Dwell Nation’s personal Lollapolooza says that 90% of followers on the primary day showed proof of being vaxxed in opposition to Covid-19, a stat that was repeated by Joe Berchtold on the corporate’s earnings name.

When it comes to employees vaccinations, in keeping with Michael Rapino, Dwell Nation, is “going to maneuver ahead and be very progressive on making certain all our workers are vaccinated”.

“We’re going to maneuver ahead and be very progressive on making certain all our workers are vaccinated.”

Michael Rapino

He added: “And we’re going to maneuver decrease with artists and managers, the place we’re seeing the likes of those artists which might be going to need totally vaccinated and examined exhibits as methods to proceed to maintain the present shifting ahead.

“I feel that the most important problem we’ve had is simply scrambling on a day-to-day foundation with part-time workers again, and abiding by completely different native COVID legal guidelines.

“That’s been our solely actual problem from an HR and communication [perspective]. So, hats off to my frontline. They’re doing an unbelievable job, operating, arduous, making an attempt to regulate, and we’re going to maneuver to extra central protocols now on mandating the backseat and serving to them out [and] make sure that they’re all protected, too.”Music Enterprise Worldwide

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