Live Nation Entertainment has Taylor Swift and Beyoncé to thank for propelling the live concerts organizer to its strongest quarterly results to date.
The parent company of Ticketmaster, which drew the wrath of Swifties and lawmakers after botching ticket sales for the wildly successful Taylor Swift Eras Tour, on Thursday reported third-quarter 2023 revenue of $8.3 billion, up 32% from a year ago.
“Today we delivered our strongest quarter ever and are on pace for a record 2023,” Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said in a statement.
The ticket-industry giant said it has sold a record 140 million tickets so far this year, up 17% year-over-year and has already surpassed the 121 million tickets sold in all of 2022. It said revenue from concerts jumped 32% to $7 billion.
Ticketmaster sold 257 million fee-bearing tickets so far this year, up 22% year-over-year. In the third quarter, Ticketmaster sales surged 57% to $833 million and 90 million fee-bearing tickets were sold in the period.
To be sure, live concerts returned with a bang in 2023, with Taylor Swift and Beyoncé becoming the hottest tickets in town. But a slew of stars took to the road this year, including Pink, Harry Styles, Bad Bunny, the Jonas Brothers and Bruce Springsteen.
Live Nation (LYV) is anticipating an equally robust 2024 for live concert, saying that about half of the shows booked for next year are for large venues and that trend is up double-digits from the previous year.
“We’re very confident we’re going to have big record-breaking tours on the road next year, as Bad Bunny just went up again and more to come …. So we’re very confident that both Ticketmaster, Live Nation are going to have big, strong years next year with a pipe full that will overcome this year’s numbers,” Rapino said in a call with analyst on Thursday.
Separately, the Wall Street Journal on Thursday reported that the Justice Department is investigating Live Nation for using anticompetitive practices to book venues and top talent and manage their ticket sales, citing people familiar with the matter. It reported that the probe is into whether these agreements limit venues’ ability to work with other ticket services.
The DOJ told CNN it had no comment on the matter.
Live Nation President and CFO Joe Berchtold addressed the WSJ article in the call with analysts, saying “let me emphasize that as far as we can tell, nobody thinks that the fundamentals that drive our promotions business are unlawful.”