Ten years and one merger with Ticketmaster later, Live Nation has grown its concert business to 25,000 shows and 73 million customers annually. At the helm of that now-global live-events empire is president and CEO Michael Rapino, who sat down recently with Recode’s Peter Kafka to talk shop -- and explain what he means when he says "we’re closer to a travel company than we are to a record label."
ON WHY ARTISTS HIT THE ROAD: "For the first eight years, Wall Street would say to me, ‘Oh my god, what's this summer gonna be like?' -- they wanted to equate it to the movie studios. ‘Where's your Spider-Man?' And I would always say that I have no supply problems this summer. I am not worried that there's not gonna be enough great artists. Why, because 95 percent of the revenue any artist is gonna make is on the road. And artists have bills just like you and me. So artist need to go on the road… It's really good economics."
ABOUT THAT BUSINESS MODEL: "We're gonna promote 25,000 shows this year. The reason that we've been able to deliver that kind of growth and also be in the artist management business is the artist does believe that we are artist-centric. We're gonna put the artist where ever is best for the artist. So what we do, our biz model is once we have the consolidated content, it's to figure out whatever venue will pay us the best economics to bring that scale. So it could mean the Barclays Center or MSG is better economically for me than Jones Beach. Because they're gonna pay me an ongoing fee and rebate to bring content there. So our job is to figure out where the best economics are to put the content."