Live Nation moving toward ticketing

Company weighing options for move

The nation’s biggest concert promoter laid out a strategy Wednesday to take further steps into the ticket biz.

Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino told the Goldman Sachs media confab in Gotham that the company has “found some great options” that could allow it to get into the ticket biz dominated by Barry Diller’s Ticketmaster.

Live Nation has been aggressive at selling other perks to event-goers, such as premium parking passes and VIP packages; it has not, until now, sold tickets to events.

But with talks between the company and Ticketmaster over renewing the pair’s long-term deal presumed dead, speculation has increased that Live Nation will look to seize opportunities to move into the ticket biz.

Rapino confirmed that the company wants to play in that arena, saying, “We should be in that business, and the artists want us to be in that business.” He also said that the so-called secondary market, dominated by eBay and StubHub, is another area the company can explore.

The company formerly known as Clear Channel Entertainment already owns a host of venues and is responsible for as many as 10,000 live events every year; the ability to sell tickets would give it both greater control over and more revenue from those events.

Observers of the live-entertainment industry have said that the ticket biz is ripe for a shakeup, as sports teams, startups and even bands look to get a piece of the action.

Rapino offered another bit of logic for expanding beyond the events biz. “The middle man has gotten squeezed,” he said, referring to the difficulty of attracting consumers to concerts on the one hand, while artists, on the other hand, want more of a cut.

But Diller told investors on Tuesday that new players are misguided to think that the ticket-selling industry is easy to crack; infrastructure costs, for one, make for high barriers to entry.

For his part, Rapino said his company works hard to book acts and attract consumers and needs to capitalize on its effort. “In our business, when you’re doing all the hard work,” he said, “you’ve got a lot of sweat equity. The question is, How do we extend our model?”

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