In its first quarter results on Monday, the first since its merger with Ticketmaster, Live Nation pointed to progress with its integration as well as its recent debt refinancing. The most important comments, however, were about its struggling secondary ticketing site and the doubt surrounding one or more of its multi-rights contracts.

From January 25, the day of the merger, through March 31, Live Nation recorded revenue of $723 million and a net loss of $112 million. The company said it is on track to realize $40 million in cost savings this year.

As a promoter, Live Nation generated total attendance of 6,835,000, a 2% drop from last year. Concert revenue fell 1.2% to $408 million. As a ticketing company, Live Nation sold 25.1 million tickets with a gross value of $1.5 billion in the first quarter. Concerts represented 52% of the company’s ticket sales while sports were 19%, arts and theater were 14% and family was 11%. Artist Nation, the company’s artist management division, had revenue of $69.4 million. The sponsorships division generated $21.2 million while e-commerce grossed $18.1 million.

Given that the companies merged in Q1, there is no comparable prior-year period against which to judge Live Nation’s performance. But the earnings call did contain some useful bits of information regarding Live Nation’s multi-rights contracts, the disappointing performance of TicketsNow and the company’s emphasis on reclaiming the value being captured by ticket brokers.

• Some multi-rights deals won’t pay off as hoped. Live Nation recorded a $13.4 allowance related to collectability concerns of certain, unnamed artist advances. In other words, the company has recorded an expense now because it does not expect to recoup some of the advances it paid out to big-name artists. Investors were wary of those multi-rights deals, and Live Nation has not entered into one since its signed Shakira to a ten-year deal in July 2008.

• TicketsNow revenues have fallen sharply and Live Nation’s secondary ticketing division is losing money. “We currently are not having success in that division,” Rapino said. TicketsNow is now making $1 million to $2 million, he explained, rather than the roughly $15 million it used to make. Why the difference? Since Live Nation had to de-link TicketsNow from Ticketmaster, he explained, revenue has “deteriorated.” That de-linking is part of a February 2009 settlement between the Attorney General of New Jersey and Ticketmaster that arose from complains about ticket sales for a Bruce Springsteen show in the state. A virtual wall was created between TicketsNow and Ticketmaster, assuring visitors would not be re-rerouted to more expensive tickets at TicketsNow. Rapino said the company is exploring strategic options for TicketsNow.

• Live Nation is looking for growth through pricing, not through fees from its secondary ticketing sites. The growth in ticketing revenue, Rapino said, will come not from secondary service fees but by figuring out how to use seat maps and dynamic pricing to capture the “billion dollars in upsell on the face value of tickets.” By “upsell” he means about the difference between the final price paid and the face value. A ticket broker is able to capture the final price while a ticketing company collects only the face value. In many cases, the final price is many times higher than the face value. Rapino added the company’s desire to capture received “great reception” from artists worldwide who want to capture more of that value that is currently being taken by brokers.

• Live Nation the promoter is still taking service fees from tickets sold by Ticketmaster. During the Q&A portion of the call, Rapino confirmed that Live Nation records ticketing revenue from service fees in addition to the concert revenue it makes as a promoter. So, even though Live Nation and Ticketmaster are now part of the same company, the old practice of the promoter taking a chunk of ticketing service fees continues. That means Live Nation’s concert division continues to get a numbers boost from service fees.