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Live Nation President and CFO talks AI, ticketing legislation and TikTok at J.P. Morgan conference

The live events business is enjoying one of its biggest boom years in recent memory, and few companies are benefiting as well live nation.

The live entertainment company that owns Ticketmaster clocked $2.28 billion of revenue increased in the concert division in the first quarter of 2023 89% YoY. In total 19 million Fans attended Live Nation shows in 45 countries in the first quarter, up from 73% YoY compared to the 11 million fans in the first quarter of 2022.

The ticketing department generated $677.7 millionhigh 41% YoY. This was due to the strength of some notable touring by artists such as Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen and Drake.

But for investors wondering what happens when superstar tours come to an end or legendary rockers like Springsteen retire, according to Joe Berchtold, Live Nation’s president and CFO, the supply of artists to the live business is no longer a problem nowadays.

That’s thanks in large part to streaming services like Spotify and social media sites like TikTok.

“The reality is that today on the supply side you see artists who are able to emerge, develop and build a worldwide fan base in ways that historically never would have been possible,” Berchtold said during an event questions and answers Session at the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Communications Conference on Tuesday (May 23).

“We are very thankful for the Spotifys of this world. We are very grateful for that Instagrams and TikToks that make it possible [artists] We’re building global brands,” he told the session’s moderator, JP Morgan analyst David Karnovsky.

“Three years ago we certainly would not have heard [about] many of the greatest artists alive today. Bad Bunny last year, Karol G this year. “They have a Mexican rapper who is the best-selling artist on Spotify these days,” he added, referring to Peso Pluma, who currently tops the Spotify charts in Mexico.

Like others in the industry, Berchtold sees great potential in the globalization of music artist fan bases enabled by streaming services and social media platforms.

“We source many other music sources that may have once been regional [that] are now traveling globally. [They] where medium sized buildings were sold out, now stadiums are sold out. So you see the supply continues to increase and I don’t see any easing on the demand side.”

“You see artists who are able to emerge, develop, and build global followings in ways that never would have been possible in the past.”

Joe Berchtold, Live Nation

In that regard, Berchtold is on the same page as fellow Live Nation founder and CEO Michael Rapino, who said during the company’s conference call last conference call In early May, he said the industry is “seeing this encouraging new supply strategy, which for many years has been all about US or UK based artists filling the charts and filling the arena.” [globally]. And most of the other talent was domestic.

“This is the true breakthrough year, where the world and the consumer are truly global. And now you can see artists from Latin America and Korea becoming global superstars.”

Berchtold’s conversation with Karnovsky was far-reaching. Here are two other things we took away from his appearance at the JPMorgan conference:

AI has the potential to transform the ticketing industry – and it already has

When asked by Karnovsky about the potential of AI technology in the concert and ticket business, Berchtold said Ticketmaster has been using AI for some time.

“We have a lot of areas at Ticketmaster where we use what we used to call ‘machine learning’.” We… take a lot of data input and use it [them] find out [how to] make life easier for everyone. So for me it’s more of an infrastructure component that runs in Ticketmaster.”

Going forward, Berchtold says there are numerous areas where AI could improve Live Nation’s business, from helping develop new shows for venues to creating marketing campaigns that are “relative to the way we market, are much more efficient and targeted”. Another aspect is pricing as we continue to think about how you can optimize pricing and move even more towards a personal relationship with fans,” he said.

Berchtold sees potential for AI in the sensitive area of ​​customer service.

“Ticketing is complicated customer service because when fans have a need, they usually have it right now,” he said, comparing it to customer service in the airline industry.

“I can’t wait until tomorrow because I have a show tonight or I have an issue that needs solving… It would be great to use AI to inform.” So [these are] Things that can help all of us because they help us do our jobs either more efficiently or more effectively.”

The rush to legislate ticket prices sheds light on the reality of the business

Ticketmaster has repeated defended the practice of dynamic pricing, arguing that if ticket prices don’t respond to demand, scalpers will capitalize by selling those tickets at a huge premium to their original price, while artists and concert companies get none of the additional revenue.

“Obviously what’s happening at the state level is that the scalpers have realized they’re losing the federal fight,” Berchtold said.

“And so they try to run across the States [in the] I hope they can sell a bill to some senators who don’t understand the bigger picture. And some bills pop up. In the vast majority of cases, quite simple conversations from sports teams, artists and their representatives explain reality, etc [the bills] be killed,” he said.

Massachusetts lawmakers John Velis and Dan Carey, recently introduced a bill to the state parliament Prohibit dynamic ticket pricing.

“Regardless of the event, consumers are weary of the lack of transparency on the part of ticket sellers. It’s devastating to watch ticket prices increase as you navigate the buying process. Sellers shouldn’t be able to hide behind websites while consumers are left out in the rain,” Carey, a representative of the state House of Representatives, said in a statement.

“The scalpers have found that they are losing the federal fight. And so they try to run across the states [in the] I hope they can sell a bill to some senators who don’t understand the bigger picture.”

Joe Berchtold, Live Nation

Berchtold reiterated Live Nation’s position that the company was not opposed to any attempts to regulate the ticketing business. Especially Live Nation’s Rapino said He supports efforts to introduce an “all-in” ticket price, where the advertised price includes all fees. One such bill is the Federal Ticket Actintroduced last month by Republican US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Democratic US Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington.

Berchtold noted that “as painful as the last six, eight months have been” — referring to the recent spate of proposed legislation — it’s actually helped the industry in some ways, “because it shed a lot more light and made more transparent.” What’s up.”

Berchtold said lawmakers just don’t know how the ticketing business works — but they’re learning in trying to legislate it.

“I think the level of tension, the press and the talks [around the issue] has made the functionality more transparent. This transparency is good for us because I have great confidence in the things we do. We start with the artist…we serve the artist, and I don’t think that’s going to turn out wrong in the end.”music business worldwide



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