Live Nation to Investors: “We’ll Figure It Out Soon!”

Were you following the news today surrounding Live Nation’s investor call at Irving Plaza? Supposedly, the company is doing just fine compared to the rest of the industry as a whole, but they expect their operating income to be down in 2010 which caused the company’s stock to slide in response. I think they were trying to inspire confidence…whoops!

Live Nation Says It Hears Ticket-Buyers “Loud And Clear” [NPR]

Executives addressed the company’s investors at Irving Plaza in New York, and acknowledged that changes will have to be made in order to prevent a further slide. President, CEO and director Michael Rapino attempted to put a positive spin on company’s position in the market, saying that Live Nation’s drop in ticket sales was smaller than the industry at large. He also insisted that “a little bit of pain” was the best thing that could happen to the industry and that the decline in the market would open the door to enforcing a “correction” in ticket prices.

Promotions like their “No Service Fees” in June signaled an absolute last-ditch effort to sell seats in order to make up some of those fixed, venue and artist contract fees, but this entire exercise is still directed at the wrong audience: the company’s investors. The real people that could care about making a difference in this company’s future would be the fans, the people that genuinely just want some cheap tickets to see the bands and music they love the most, and this company continues to do almost nothing to signal that their approach has anything to do with the fans and people that actually fill the seats. The news conference only showed more weakness in the company’s approach and they did more explaining about the money they lost and why those were in circumstances out of their control than explain the innovations and ideas they have to make the company a better and more responsive entity going forward. I hope some of the money in this industry keeps sleeping away from the big guys and starts going to more DIY fan-centric approaches to live music.

To be fair, they did try to sugarcoat this the best they could. Maybe they’ll expand internationally…maybe they’ll finally phase out ridiculous costs of printing tickets at home, something that, ahem, THEY SHOULD BE DOING ALREADY AND/OR FACTORING INTO DISCOUNTS ON TICKET PRICES BASED ON COMMON KNOWLEDGE OF ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES AND THE IDEA THAT THE CUSTOMER IS SAVING THE COMPANY COST OF MATERIALS EXPENSES…who knows, though. I’m not sure these were the things that would excite investors given that they don’t seem to address how the company is going to cut their costs by innovating while allowing shows to sell-out more easily without having to spend a ton promoting each of them. As much as I can, I go around this now and buy tickets directly at the venues I want to see shows at. San Francisco makes this easier than most major metros, so I’m fortunate there, but going forward I’ll likely remember to continue to make that extra effort to leave out the middleman…