Opinion and analysis of the day's music news.


A Look At Live Nation's Q3
-- Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino said the company “scrapped and fought our way through Q3.” Indeed it did. The third quarter is the company’s big money quarter. In a down year, Live Nation performed as well as can be expected. Results were pretty much in line with expectations. The day after earnings were released, Live Nation’s stock rose 13 cents to $9.81 and reached an intraday high of $10.01 – the first time in over a month is had surpassed $10.

There were a few hopeful signs. The number of concerts promoted by the company was up 2.8% and 0.8% in the first nine months and the third quarter, respectively, while average revenue per sponsor was up 8.5% and 5.5%. Sponsorship revenue is down just 2.8% through September. E-commerce revenue for the combined company is up 2.6% through September.

But 2010 is a down year, and the numbers show the challenge entertainment industries face. Live Nation’s concert revenue was down 10.3% and 14.5% in the first nine months and the third quarter, respectively. Ticketing revenue was down 14.2% and 10.6%. Artist Nation revenue was down 19% and 26.8%.

During the Q&A, an analyst asked what changed in 2010 versus the prior two years. “The consumer, in general, in 2010, for whatever reason for the delay, has said, ‘I’m probably going to go to one less sporting event or Nascar or concert this year,’” said Rapino. “When we dig into the research on the concert and the purchase intent, the consumer says, ‘I still rate going to a show a very high place in my life, but…the price point made me stay home this year.’” Although the industry through 2009 assumed concerts were resistant to such pressures, Rapino said Live Nation has “seen the wake-up call and will do what we can to address the pricing part to get some of them back.”

There are already signs Live Nation is addressing current concerns. Last week the company reorganized to book concerts more on a regional basis and less on a national basis – a move seen to address the need to pay less for talent.


How Brands Respond To A Challenging Climate
-- Just like the CD, the printed magazine is under threat – but not dead. U.S. News and World Report will no longer send printed copies to subscribers, according to an internal email. Physical copies of the magazine will continue to be sold for newsstands and “targeted distribution” such as the college and graduate guides.

From the email: “Our emphasis on rankings and research content is the right path, making us an essential information source in a commoditized marketplace. We provide information that helps people make important decisions. Whether they're picking a college or voting for a senator, it's clear from the response of our users that accurate, searchable information is something they value highly.” (Poynter)


Google's Smartphone Marketshare Up
-- Google’s share of the U.S. smartphone market jumped to 21.4% in September from 14.9% in June, according to new figures from comScore, while Apple stayed even at 24.3% and RIM dropped slightly to 37.3% from 40.1%. Microsoft was down to 10% from 12.8% and Palm edged downward to 4.2% from 4.7%. In September, 15.2% of mobile subscribers ages 13 and over listened to music on a mobile phone, up from 14.4% in June. (Press release)


Assorted Links
-- Mainstream country music doesn’t sell too well at Grimey’s, one of Nashville’s few remaining record stores. (NPR)
-- The former Tower Records site on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood will become a gym and retail complex. (Los Angeles Times)
-- San Diego’s Petco Park gets rave reviews as an intimate music venue. (Union-Tribune)