Michael Rapino, the Canadian-born CEO of Live Nation, obviously knows a lot of about how the concert industry works. He sat down with Billboard for an interview which covered things like the pricing of concert tickets…
We talked a lot in the last year, especially at Billboard, about slow ticketing and competitive pricing. Are we approaching a cap on what customers can be charged?
We’re in a transition now. That 10 a.m. onsale and instant sellout is like a drug, even if the reality is it was a high percentage of bots and scalpers that bought the tickets. So over time, if you believe that the artist is going to be more empowered, they’re going to go from working behind the platforms to working in front of them. We want to make sure we are solving the artist’s job going to market with the best pricing strategy. As deep as you want to go, we want to take you there on pricing dynamically. We want to show you that you should not leave much on the table. Number Two, we should figure out how to lock down the pricing you want. If you really want to charge $129, even though you can get $250, we have to figure out how you the artist and we the distributor can deliver that ticket to your fan for that price. It’s just the start of the artist becoming more involved, and as he prices the house better, and technology delivers digital ticketing and more of a direct relationship, I think those two come together.
…and the issue of terrorism at concerts.
Let’s talk about the challenge of terrorism. What was your reaction to the attacks in Manchester and Las Vegas late last year?
I mean, they’re both horrible. In Las Vegas, our promoter Brian O’Connell was texting us from the event while hiding underneath the trailer. They didn’t know where the bullets were coming from. And Brian has taken artists to perform for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it’s sad that the most horrific event of his life ends up being in a parking lot in Vegas. These are horrible events in a crazy world. First, we have to check on our staff. Is anyone injured? How do you get to them? And, how do you support them? In Manchester you have security guards seeing horrific things. How do you over deliver on everything they need from support, and counseling, and financial support? How do we get people out of there that next day? How do you get them flights?
How do you process these attacks?
It’s a tough world out there. Could we have any way looked at Vegas or predicted Manchester? I don’t know. Many shows are not at our venues. We don’t have control of everything a lot of times. [But now] we’ve got to be the best in the world, at making sure that fans have a safe experience. Obviously, I can’t say that we can stop shootings and [other terrorist attacks] from the outside, but protecting the venue and around that venue is gonna be a key part of what being an event producer is.
Read the whole insightful interview here.