Live Nation Expanding Into Russia
Live Nation Expanding Into Russia

Through April 30, 2012, Live Nation concert ticket sales are up 23% in volume over the same period in the prior year (including ticket sales for concerts that have not yet occurred), with North America up 25% and International up 19%, according to financial reports disclosed Wednesday. While this represents a relatively light period of live music activity (but still nearly 5,000 concerts), Live Nation's numbers did beat the overall concert trend reflected by sister company Ticketmaster's numbers, which sold 15.7 million tickets across the entire live business, up 6%.

Ticket sales figures are essentially attendance numbers, which not only account for direct revenues in the form of ticket sales, but also create indirect revenue in supporting sponsorship sales and, at venues Live Nation owns, income from ancillaries like concessions, ticket fees, and parking, essentially driving the entire Live Nation model.

Overall, Live Nation Entertainment, which includes the concert division, Ticketmaster, and management firm Front Line, reports a 2% revenue gain to $868 million and a net loss of $70 million, up from a loss of $54 million last year.

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Live Nation's growing stake in the robust North American concert business helped boost ticket sales by more than 30% for the period, according to statistics provided to by LiveNation COO Joe Berchtold. In Europe, festival sales are up 20% through April 2012.

Between traditional and electronic festivals, the company currently plans to produce 55 festivals with over three million fans in attendance in 2012, and the company just announced it had purchased Cream Holdings, a British promoter of concerts featuring electronic-dance music, including several Creamfields Music Festivals in Europe each year.

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In Live Nation's critical amphitheater division, which kicks in this month in earnest, ticket sales are up over 50% through April 2012, and the company currently expects to finish 2012 with amphitheater attendance up double digits compared to 2011. The company already has over 175 shows confirmed and expects to utilize dynamic pricing in roughly half of its amphitheater shows through the summer of 2012. Live Nation is in the process of rolling out dynamic pricing to optimize ticket revenue for each of its amphitheater shows, and the company says it expects a 5 10% increase in revenue for shows using this tool.

Live Nation's ticket sales are up 8% for arenas and stadiums through April 2012, and with the ongoing Roger Waters' the Wall tour, along with global arena/stadium runs by Lady Gaga, Madonna, Usher, and others on tap, arena/stadium numbers should continue to hold strong.

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For Ticketmaster, tickets to sporting events rose from 7.5 million to 8.7 million and arts and theater tickets increased from 4.6 million to 4.8 million. Family shows saw a small rise to 4.5 million from 4.4 million last year.