Power Move: Has more than 2,000 live shows per year and a bevy of growing festivals, including Coachella.
Rundown: On first glance, seeing that AEG Live’s total Billboard Boxscore gross of $576.4 million in 2012 was down $225 million (28%) from 2011 might look disastrous. But the difference-maker between ’12 and ’11 is well accounted for by the lack of activity from AEG-promoted tours of 2011 like Bon Jovi and Usher (whose combined grosses well exceeded $225 million). And, of course, Boxscore is all about gross, not net. Comparing the past two years, AEG Live’s 2,134 shows reported in 2012 are virtually flat with 2011, a reflection of festival business growth, its regional offices, anchor venues and the one-off shows it promotes.
“One reason 2012 wasn’t a disaster -- whereas five years earlier it could have been, because then touring drove everything -- is because the regional offices are doing incredibly well,” Randy Phillips says. “Instead of this company being completely driven by touring, now we’re evenly divided between festivals, regional offices, venues and touring.”
Phillips cites Denver, once one of the most competitive promoter markets in the country, as an example of the company’s regional dominance. “We now control Denver, with 70% of the [concert] market,” he says. The festivals speak for themselves -- AEG Live is partnered in the resurgent JazzFest, but the crown jewel is Coachella, now the highest-grossing festival in the world. Along with the strength of regionals and still-growing events, AEG Live will have a portfolio of major tours including Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney.
“[AEG Live] will probably eclipse $40 million this year in profits,” Phillips says. “And, remember, we’re debt-free.” Still, the future is uncertain, with parent company AEG presently on the auction block. At the very least, Phillips will be working for new owners, but as AEG CEO Tim Leiweke (No. 8) puts it, “Randy is fine.”