Depending on how thoroughly you did or did not shirk your responsibility to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus, it’s most likely been well over a year since you last went to a concert. Now, with the country gradually reopening and entertainment venues starting to come back (for better or worse), Americans can start thinking about packing together in hot, poorly ventilated rooms to see their favorite musical acts noodle away on guitars again—and according to Live Nation, people are very excited about doing that.
As reported by Deadline, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino says its “concert pipeline” is up double digits from where it was in 2019 before the pandemic, with events like Bonnaroo, Electric Daisy, and Rolling Loud all selling out in record time. Garth Brooks also “broke every Ticketmaster record” when he sold 50,000 tickets in under 30 minutes for a show in Salt Lake City. This comes after Live Nation got predictably wrecked by the pandemic, with Rapino saying that the company’s net losses had hit $300 million and that the number of events it hosted dropped to 664 from 7,095 in 2019.
But now Deadline says the company has cut costs (which we’re going to assume means what we think it means), raised some money, and now has over $2 billion in “available liquidity” that it can use to keep the lights on as concerts come back. Basically, things are looking up for Live Nation and Ticketmaster (which it owns), which is specifically good news for Michael Rapino and… maybe someone else? His family, probably.
The dark side of this, because there’s always a dark side when Live Nation is involved, is that Democrats in the House recently called on the Deportment Of Justice to investigate whether or not the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merge has “strangled competition in live entertainment ticketing and harmed consumers.” Live Nation? Harming consumers? Crushing them under the weight of nonsensical service charges? No, that doesn’t sound like the Live Nation we know and love. But hey, concerts are coming back!