Live Nation Furloughs 20% of Staff as Part of $600M Cost Reduction

Courtesy of Live Nation Entertainment

Michael Rapino

Live Nation has furloughed approximately 2,100 of its 10,500 employees across multiple divisions at the company, Billboard has learned.

The staff reductions are part of an effort that began in April to reduce costs by $600 million as the publicly-traded concert promoter prepares to weather an extended shutdown due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Nearly 40,000 full and part jobs in live entertainment have been lost, according to data collected by Billboard, since stay at home orders were issued in 42 states beginning March 12. That same day, Live Nation and AEG pulled touring shows off the road and began postponing and canceling tens of thousands of concerts and festivals.

Job losses and furloughs have been a hallmark of the 2020 COVID-19 crisis, with business owners enacting deep cuts and more than 20 million Americans losing their jobs last month alone. Dozens of companies in live entertainment have had to cut or lay off staff, including APA, Paradigm, Ticketmaster, Feld Entertainment and Cirque du Soleil, which means tens of thousands of seasonal employees who support summer festivals and concerts will be out of the work this summer.

The shutdown initially cratered Live Nation’s stock, which was trading at a high of $76.08 on Feb. 19 before falling 60% to $29.50 on March 18. Shares have since rallied back, closing Friday (May 15) at $40.06.

On Thursday, Live Nation detailed plans to raise $1.2 billion in senior debt through a secured note sale that closes May 20, giving the promoter and ticketing company roughly $3 billion of liquidity going into a near-empty summer concert season. The 6.5% senior secured notes will be used for general corporate purposes and will be due in 2027.