Is Live Nation’s sustainability agreement with Liquid Death a risky partnership?
On one hand, the agreement gives the mega concert promoter distribution rights and equity in a fast-growing mountain water brand that uses aluminum to help eliminate single use plastics, a key sustainability initiative for Live Nation. With an investor list that looks like a festival lineup, the agreement also gives the promoter proximity to artist backers including Wiz Khalifa, Machine Gun Kelly, Steve Aoki and Tony Hawk.
On the other hand, the company is called Liquid Death. The brand name and art direction are the clever creation of former agency creative director and copy writer Mike Cessario and pay homage to America’s punk, thrash and metal scene.
The nearly three-year-old, Santa Monica-based startup sells water from the Austrian Alps, but Liquid Death’s innovation is that it packages its water in 16.9 ounce aluminum cans, usually reserved for large beers and malt liquor beverages. Aluminum is much easier to recycle than plastic and more than 80% of aluminum cans in circulation have been recycled at least once.
The partnership is the latest from Live Nation’s Green Nation sustainability charter, launched in 2019. LN has set a goal of aiming to phase out the sale of single-use plastics at all owned and operated venues and events. Liquid Death’s still and sparkling mountain water lines will serve as the exclusive water option at more than 120 Live Nation owned and operated venues and festivals across the U.S.
Investors include The total Series C funding was $15 million.
“We’ve always run Liquid Death like it’s a band, so getting to partner with Live Nation is a huge milestone and honor for us,” says Cessario, co-founder and chief executive of Liquid Death in a press release. “Music has been a huge part of our DNA since the beginning. We can’t wait to get back to live shows, support our favorite artists, and help kill plastic water bottles at concerts.”
Live Nation chief executive Michael Rapino said, “we’re all ready to be back at live events, and as we return we want to continue taking steps to be more sustainable.”
Live Nation recently commissioned a study of live music fans, and results showed that sustainability was one of the top causes they care most about. Plastic pollution was the number one issue for music fans, which 86 percent saying they reduced their usage of single-use paper and plastic products.
Liquid Death donates 10% of the profits from every can sold to nonprofits who are helping to reduce plastic-related pollution and bring clean drinking water to those in need.