Live Nation Goes Web 2.0

LiveNation_logo.jpeg

Live Nation has really been on the Internet business rampage lately. Since the official spin-off from Clear Channel late in 2005, the concert industry giant has become much more focused on its Internet businesses with CEO Michael Rapino at the helm. Just a few weeks ago, Live Nation announced a partnership with music social networking and discovery site, Last.fm; a really smart move for both companies. It allows Live Nation to offer concert listings and ticket sale options for millions of avid music fans who are tapped into the Last.fm network. It also gives Last.fm another way to monetize its fan network.

But that move was just the beginning…


Just last week at the “Music 2.0 Conference” in LA, Live Nation also discussed a new online business concept they described as a “MySpace for venues.” Apparently, the site will offer an online space for venues both large and small (not just the large arenas and House of Blues venues controlled by Live Nation). The space will include ticket sale options through Ticketmaster and more interactive listings (and apparently Live nation already has set up RSS feeds for venues on its website which was news to me; cool!).

Perhaps even more significant, but less noticeable, was Live Nation’s recent purchase of MusicToday (featured in-depth in FastCompany magazine). MusicToday is a sort of “jack-of-all-trades” artist services company that probably works with the majority of bands covered on this site. The direction this company is going definitely gives us some insight into Live Nation’s plans to dominate the concert industry via the web and make solid moves into the more mid-sized clubs (as we know, Live Nation also bought the House of Blues chain this past year).

But there was one item buried in that FastCompany article that really piqued my interest. Apparently, Live Nation’s contract with Ticketmaster is set to expire next year, which has me thinking that they might be making moves to get into the ticket sales market themselves. While I don’t know if a Live Nation ticket retailer would be the answer to all our problems, I think that any type of significant competition to the infamous TicketBastard would be a good thing for live music fans.

We’re likely to hear a lot more from Live Nation this week, as the annual Concert Industry Consortium kicks off in LA on Tuesday. Last year’s conference included a passionate keynote speech from Live Nation’s CEO in which he discussed the need to focus on “the fan,” gave a shout-out to the Grateful Dead, and spouted some surprising statistics about Americans lacking attendance of concerts (about 71% of Americans don’t even attend concerts, and the majority of those who do go to concerts average less than 2 shows a year).

Those stats are exactly the reason all of this should matter to folks who read this site. All these business models and buy-outs will at some point affect your concert experiences for better or worse. While some might see this as another corporate attempt to commoditize the live music experience, I think it also represents the potential of some really cool developments as these changes move forward. Listening to Michael Rapino’s speech again made me immediately think of the bands and fans that are covered by Live Music Blog. We are exactly the type of avid music fanatics that these guys are looking for…we’re not your average consumers of live music. So these companies should be doing the things we want and need to make our experiences better.

They need to make it easier, cheaper and more efficient for me to collect concert information and buy tickets! They need to have functional online spaces that do more than just list concerts, but work with music blogs, fan message boards, and all the new web 2.0 gadgets and services. Some of the moves by Live Nation above are on this track, but there’s plenty more progress to be made (hello Pollstar!?!?!).

Over the next few days and weeks, I’ll be looking into a few other happenings in the online concert industry / live music space. Let us know if you think it’s worth pursuing any further, because we sure as hell do…

Additional Reading:
For coverage of the this week’s Concert Industry Consortium, check out the Hypebot blog
“Way Behind the Music” [Fast Company]
Interview with LIve Nation CEO, Michael Rapino [Fast Company]
Read or Listen to Michael Rapino’s Keynote address at the 2006 Concert Industry Consortium [Pollstar]

Related posts on Live Music Blog:
The DIY Indie Band Biz Model
Full RSS Feeds on Music Blogs and Sites

WHITperson -- aka Marc Whitman or simply "Whit" -- is a long-time LMB contributor known for his in-depth posting style and his knack for crafting interesting podcasts. Whit currently resides in Brooklyn, where he's building up his web development chops and hoping to put his technical skills towards something interesting in the music world. Follow his updates over at whitperson.com and on twitter @whitperson.
  • http://www.rhodesschool.com Jake P

    Don’t think for a minute that if Live Nation, **cough**…Clear Channel gets into the ticket selling business they’ll give us (the consumers) a break. They’ll screw up Music Today just like they’ll screw up the House of Blues. I loved Music Today because I could get pre-sale tix there without a huge fee. That’s probably over.

    Come on now, Justin. Don’t get fooled. They’re wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  • http://www.rhodesschool.com Jake P

    Don’t think for a minute that if Live Nation, **cough**…Clear Channel gets into the ticket selling business they’ll give us (the consumers) a break. They’ll screw up Music Today just like they’ll screw up the House of Blues. I loved Music Today because I could get pre-sale tix there without a huge fee. That’s probably over.

    Come on now, Justin. Don’t get fooled. They’re wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  • http://www.rhodesschool.com Jake P

    Don’t think for a minute that if Live Nation, **cough**…Clear Channel gets into the ticket selling business they’ll give us (the consumers) a break. They’ll screw up Music Today just like they’ll screw up the House of Blues. I loved Music Today because I could get pre-sale tix there without a huge fee. That’s probably over.

    Come on now, Justin. Don’t get fooled. They’re wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  • http://www.livemusicblog.com WHITperson

    Actually, I wrote this one, not Justin…so I should definitely take any heat about “getting fooled.”

    Believe me, I am also cynical about the ticket situation and don’t necessarily think a Live Nation ticket service would be all that much better. But at this point in the game, I think ANY competition with TicketBastard is a good 1st step. I also failed to mention that Live Nation’s CEO has been openly critical of ticketmaster’s pricing. Whether you believe anything the guy says is up to you, but you can bet that he knows very well the way music fans feel about the ticket scene. And Live Nation is at least in a position to start offering another option. And if they’re smart, they will at least attempt to offer something better than ticketmaster. Like you, I am also skeptical.

    Maybe Live Nation can’t shed the “corporate-ness” of Clear Channel and it will have an ill effect on MusicToday? Maybe it won’t? But either way, all of these changes will definitely affect the way we experience live music and all the purchases that go along with it.

  • http://www.livemusicblog.com WHITperson

    Actually, I wrote this one, not Justin…so I should definitely take any heat about “getting fooled.”

    Believe me, I am also cynical about the ticket situation and don’t necessarily think a Live Nation ticket service would be all that much better. But at this point in the game, I think ANY competition with TicketBastard is a good 1st step. I also failed to mention that Live Nation’s CEO has been openly critical of ticketmaster’s pricing. Whether you believe anything the guy says is up to you, but you can bet that he knows very well the way music fans feel about the ticket scene. And Live Nation is at least in a position to start offering another option. And if they’re smart, they will at least attempt to offer something better than ticketmaster. Like you, I am also skeptical.

    Maybe Live Nation can’t shed the “corporate-ness” of Clear Channel and it will have an ill effect on MusicToday? Maybe it won’t? But either way, all of these changes will definitely affect the way we experience live music and all the purchases that go along with it.

  • http://www.livemusicblog.com WHITperson

    Actually, I wrote this one, not Justin…so I should definitely take any heat about “getting fooled.”

    Believe me, I am also cynical about the ticket situation and don’t necessarily think a Live Nation ticket service would be all that much better. But at this point in the game, I think ANY competition with TicketBastard is a good 1st step. I also failed to mention that Live Nation’s CEO has been openly critical of ticketmaster’s pricing. Whether you believe anything the guy says is up to you, but you can bet that he knows very well the way music fans feel about the ticket scene. And Live Nation is at least in a position to start offering another option. And if they’re smart, they will at least attempt to offer something better than ticketmaster. Like you, I am also skeptical.

    Maybe Live Nation can’t shed the “corporate-ness” of Clear Channel and it will have an ill effect on MusicToday? Maybe it won’t? But either way, all of these changes will definitely affect the way we experience live music and all the purchases that go along with it.

  • nelsorp

    i will be really interested to see how all of this plays out. honestly i don’t believe there will ever be any relief to prices we are used to from ticketmaster, if anything they will just go up. similar things have happened to tickets for the festivals we all love. any guess what tickets for bonnaroo will run this year?

  • nelsorp

    i will be really interested to see how all of this plays out. honestly i don’t believe there will ever be any relief to prices we are used to from ticketmaster, if anything they will just go up. similar things have happened to tickets for the festivals we all love. any guess what tickets for bonnaroo will run this year?

  • nelsorp

    i will be really interested to see how all of this plays out. honestly i don’t believe there will ever be any relief to prices we are used to from ticketmaster, if anything they will just go up. similar things have happened to tickets for the festivals we all love. any guess what tickets for bonnaroo will run this year?

  • LAmusicguy

    You have a right to be skeptical about Live Nation’s intentions to enter the ticketselling business, but it’s important to understand what the addition of a second major player means to any line of business — competition. If Rapino is smart about it with regard to pricing (and I’m convinced he will be), the public won’t be able to get away from Ticketmaster fast enough. Speaking personally, even if Live Nation stupidly chose to charge fans the same outrageous fees Ticketmaster charges for its “services,” I would STILL opt to buy tickets through Live Nation rather than Ticketmaster, because at least Live Nation’s talent buyers are out there taking risk by paying artists large sums of money to come play in our towns. I ask you: What are you really paying for when you’re charged a $6.75 service charge on a $15 ticket? You’re paying for use of Ticketmaster’s distribution system (web, outlets) and that’s it. If Live Nation can offer the same service, even at even money, pay them instead of Ticketmaster because they are not leeches, sucking every drop of blood they can get before they’re finally forced to hit the road by a real competitor.

  • LAmusicguy

    You have a right to be skeptical about Live Nation’s intentions to enter the ticketselling business, but it’s important to understand what the addition of a second major player means to any line of business — competition. If Rapino is smart about it with regard to pricing (and I’m convinced he will be), the public won’t be able to get away from Ticketmaster fast enough. Speaking personally, even if Live Nation stupidly chose to charge fans the same outrageous fees Ticketmaster charges for its “services,” I would STILL opt to buy tickets through Live Nation rather than Ticketmaster, because at least Live Nation’s talent buyers are out there taking risk by paying artists large sums of money to come play in our towns. I ask you: What are you really paying for when you’re charged a $6.75 service charge on a $15 ticket? You’re paying for use of Ticketmaster’s distribution system (web, outlets) and that’s it. If Live Nation can offer the same service, even at even money, pay them instead of Ticketmaster because they are not leeches, sucking every drop of blood they can get before they’re finally forced to hit the road by a real competitor.

  • LAmusicguy

    You have a right to be skeptical about Live Nation’s intentions to enter the ticketselling business, but it’s important to understand what the addition of a second major player means to any line of business — competition. If Rapino is smart about it with regard to pricing (and I’m convinced he will be), the public won’t be able to get away from Ticketmaster fast enough. Speaking personally, even if Live Nation stupidly chose to charge fans the same outrageous fees Ticketmaster charges for its “services,” I would STILL opt to buy tickets through Live Nation rather than Ticketmaster, because at least Live Nation’s talent buyers are out there taking risk by paying artists large sums of money to come play in our towns. I ask you: What are you really paying for when you’re charged a $6.75 service charge on a $15 ticket? You’re paying for use of Ticketmaster’s distribution system (web, outlets) and that’s it. If Live Nation can offer the same service, even at even money, pay them instead of Ticketmaster because they are not leeches, sucking every drop of blood they can get before they’re finally forced to hit the road by a real competitor.

  • http://ChristianJamesPhoto.com Christian James

    Great article, I look forward to more about whats happening in the industry.

  • http://ChristianJamesPhoto.com Christian James

    Great article, I look forward to more about whats happening in the industry.

  • http://ChristianJamesPhoto.com Christian James

    Great article, I look forward to more about whats happening in the industry.

  • http://www.seannolandfoundation.org Drew Mongoven

    As skeptical as I am about anything owned by Clear Channel, I think the only way the Ticketmaster monopoly can be broken is with a competitor who owns a lot of venues. The reason Ticketbastard is able to maintain their monopoly is because many venues are unable to offer ticketing services and so they give the rights to Ticketmaster, leaving very limited tickets for any other vendors. ANY competition to ticketmaster should be welcomed.

  • http://www.seannolandfoundation.org Drew Mongoven

    As skeptical as I am about anything owned by Clear Channel, I think the only way the Ticketmaster monopoly can be broken is with a competitor who owns a lot of venues. The reason Ticketbastard is able to maintain their monopoly is because many venues are unable to offer ticketing services and so they give the rights to Ticketmaster, leaving very limited tickets for any other vendors. ANY competition to ticketmaster should be welcomed.

  • http://www.seannolandfoundation.org Drew Mongoven

    As skeptical as I am about anything owned by Clear Channel, I think the only way the Ticketmaster monopoly can be broken is with a competitor who owns a lot of venues. The reason Ticketbastard is able to maintain their monopoly is because many venues are unable to offer ticketing services and so they give the rights to Ticketmaster, leaving very limited tickets for any other vendors. ANY competition to ticketmaster should be welcomed.

  • Anonymous

    So they have money to buy out HOB, and MusicToday – which allows them to benefit from established infostructure, brand, customers, etc. Yet when it comes time for them to get into the Social Networking game, they want to build their own?

    I would have guessed that they would have stayed in ‘acquisition mode’ and found a social network to purchase – or license.

    If they launch an empty Social Net., they’ll have to spend a lot of cash on promotions and advertising to get it rolling – they’ll need to convince people that they should create yet another profile, upload yet another photo, etc.

    A better move would be to align themselves with a social net, acquire one, or use one of the 15+ white label social net services.

    What will the site provide? Certainly “ticket sale options ” can’t be the core of the social network, I don’t see 1,000′s of teens posting, “OMG… I just bought a ticket… and paid a $10 service fee!!!!”

    As for the relationship with Last.fm – I find that one a bit odd. Last.fm has always been a cool site – with cool developers… so why didn’t they just connect to the API of EVDB.com or Eventful.com or tourb.us. There must have been a more to the deal.

    =======

    “The reason Ticketbastard is able to maintain their monopoly is because many venues are unable to offer ticketing services and so they give the rights to Ticketmaster…”

    And there my friend, is an invitation to launch a new Web based compnay/service. Anyone looking to invest?!

    btw – i clicked through from the hypebot blog – and your content looks good… subscribed!

    - Gideon
    http://www.ArtistServer.com

  • Anonymous

    So they have money to buy out HOB, and MusicToday – which allows them to benefit from established infostructure, brand, customers, etc. Yet when it comes time for them to get into the Social Networking game, they want to build their own?

    I would have guessed that they would have stayed in ‘acquisition mode’ and found a social network to purchase – or license.

    If they launch an empty Social Net., they’ll have to spend a lot of cash on promotions and advertising to get it rolling – they’ll need to convince people that they should create yet another profile, upload yet another photo, etc.

    A better move would be to align themselves with a social net, acquire one, or use one of the 15+ white label social net services.

    What will the site provide? Certainly “ticket sale options ” can’t be the core of the social network, I don’t see 1,000′s of teens posting, “OMG… I just bought a ticket… and paid a $10 service fee!!!!”

    As for the relationship with Last.fm – I find that one a bit odd. Last.fm has always been a cool site – with cool developers… so why didn’t they just connect to the API of EVDB.com or Eventful.com or tourb.us. There must have been a more to the deal.

    =======

    “The reason Ticketbastard is able to maintain their monopoly is because many venues are unable to offer ticketing services and so they give the rights to Ticketmaster…”

    And there my friend, is an invitation to launch a new Web based compnay/service. Anyone looking to invest?!

    btw – i clicked through from the hypebot blog – and your content looks good… subscribed!

    - Gideon
    http://www.ArtistServer.com