Randy Phillips, president/CEO of AEG Live, called upon the touring industry to come together and make the business stronger today (Nov. 9) at the Billboard Backstage Pass Conference in New York.
“We need to create new business models,” Phillips said. “But, nobody believes we can work together.”
Major promoters agreed with this idea.
“What we’re talking about is altruism and making more money,” said Greg Trojan, CEO of House Of Blues Entertainment. “It’s not incongruent.”
Independent promoter Jerry Mickelson, co-president of Jam Productions, said that promoters are cannibalizing each other. “These are nice guys,” he said, in reference to Phillips, Trojan and Clear Channel Entertainment global president Michael Rapino, “but they’re out to cut my nuts off. The business has to be about ‘us,’ not all about ‘me’.”
Panelists agreed that developing new acts is of utmost importance. “We’re in the artist-investment business,” said Rapino. “We are the record labels of today.”
There was also debate about ticket pre-sales and discounting. “I wonder if we aren’t biting ourselves in the ass with pre-sales,” said Phillips. “After that, there aren’t good seats left. When you give away tickets, you devalue the product.”
The discussion came out of the “Why Can’t We Be Friends” panel, moderated by Billboard co-executive editor Tamara Conniff. The two-day conference ends tonight with the Billboard Backstage Pass reception and touring awards presentation at the Roosevelt Hotel.