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Live Nation yearly revenue up 8%

Live Nation Entertainment announced its yearly and fourth quarter earnings on Tuesday, boasting an 8% increase in revenue for the year, despite losses due to the departure of executive chairman Irving Azoff.

The live music, ticketing and sponsorship giant posted total yearly revenue of $5.8 billion, with an adjusted operating income of $459 million (up 4.8%). Concert revenue notched the biggest gains, registering $3.8 billion (up 10.4%), with ticketing up 4% at $1.3 billion. Management division Artist Nation was nearly flat with just under $400 million, and sponsorship and advertising gained 7.4% to $248 million.

Quarterly revenue for the period ending December 31 was up 21% from the fourth quarter of 2011, tallying $1.4 billion, thanks to the presence of both Madonna and Lady Gaga on the touring circuit during the quarter. Yearly figures were likewise goosed by the Summer Olympics in London.

LNE booked a loss of $5.5 million due to costs associated with the December departure of executive chairman Irving Azoff, as well as a $62.7 million impairment charge to Artist Nation.
Total concert attendance increased slightly to 48.7 million, with 147 million tickets sold at a gross value of $9.1 billion.

In a shareholder conference call, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino noted that the company was looking to build on secondary ticketing in 2013, as well as eyeing electronic dance music and festivals as key growth areas, with fest attendance rising 30% over the past year, and EDM attendance doubling in the same period.

LNE COO Joe Berchtold noted that artists who had their first hit song in the 2000s represented half of all amphitheater tours last year, fueling optimism that the aging evergreens who have historically propped up the touring business will begin to find younger replacements. Rapino highlighted the recently announced Justin Timberlake-Jay-Z summer tour as a particular bright spot — “a reaffirmation that there’s real life in younger acts” — as well as the multi-show Country Megaticket packages that the company began offering in 2011.

Rapino noted in a statement: “Looking forward to 2013, I am confident that we will continue the successful growth of the core business. As of the end of 2012, we have sold nine million concert tickets for 2013 shows, a 58% increase from a year ago. Our ticketing re-platforming project is in its last full year of investment and will deliver major product innovations for clients and fans throughout the year.”

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