The nascent live-streaming industry received a major validation today with the announcement that concert promoter Live Nation is buying a controlling stake in Veeps, the streaming company founded by Joel and Benji Madden. The agreement marks the first major acquisition in the COVID-19 live-streaming era and solidifies Veep’s key role building one of the first ticketed live stream platforms.
In just 10 months, paid live-streaming has transformed the music business and become a critically important revenue generator for artists unable to tour due to the global pandemic. Veeps, which started in 2017 as an artist VIP company, pivoted to paid streaming in March 2020 and has hosted successful live streams by artists including Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, metal band Architects, Lauren Daigle and singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright, who played 33 shows on the Veeps platform in 2020. One of Veep’s most enduring success stories is 2020 Grammy Award winner Brandi Carlile, who launched her first show in May 2020 on the platform and continues to deliver content and stay connected to fans while generating income for her band and crew.
Veeps is the first major acquisition for Live Nation since the beginning of the pandemic, giving the world’s largest concert promoter a foothold in paid live-streaming as it prepares for the return of the live business in 2021. Benji and Joel Madden, alongside cofounders Sherry Saeedi and Kyle Heller, will remain at the helm of Veeps, with their full team staying on to continue with all operations of the business.
In buying Veeps and bringing the Maddens into the company, Live Nation adds bonafide career artists — their band Good Charlotte is one of the most successful pop punk bands of all time — as well as established entrepreneurs and music managers to the company’s portfolio of acquired owner-operated businesses.
“Live streaming is a great complement to our core business, and essentially gives any show an unlimited capacity. Looking to the future live streams will continue to unlock access for fans – whether they are tuning into a sold out show in their hometown, or watching their favorite artist play in a city halfway around the world,” says Michael Rapino, president and chief executive of Live Nation in a statement provided to Billboard. “The most critical element of live streaming is the artist on stage, and with Live Nation’s unmatched inventory feeding into Veeps, together we will help fans enjoy more live music than ever before.”
The Madden brothers have often worked with Live Nation as both artists and managers, Joel Madden tells Billboard, noting “we’re very happy to be joining a company that is such a big supporter of artists and artist-led businesses. This partnership is a demonstration that premium, ticketed live streams have earned themselves a permanent place in the verticals of every artist business.”
In 2020, Veeps generated more than $10 million in sales for the touring community, Joel Madden says, “and we’re looking forward to helping even more artists connect with fans this year in ways that support their art and their development.”
Benji Madden adds, “We’ve always believed that taking an art-first approach to live stream shows helps artists create the kind of performance they can be proud of, and an experience that fans love. This means applying as much creativity and thoughtfulness as you would with any in-person show,” adding “We will only see this platform get more innovative as concerts return and we layer into shows in even more ways. We’re incredibly grateful for our team who continues to hustle non-stop and we look forward to amazing things ahead alongside Live Nation.”