UPDATED: Layoffs are coming at AEG Presents, the world’s second-largest live-entertainment company, on Monday (June 8), according to a memo from CEO Jay Marciano obtained by Variety. The extent of the layoffs was unclear at the time of this article’s publication, but they are said to be a combination of layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts that will affect all areas of the company, effective July 1.
The live-entertainment business has been laid flat by the coronavirus pandemic, with no solid timeline for when it might return. Even the most optimistic predictions don’t foresee any traditional concerts returning until late this year at the very soonest, and realistically, it will be at least 18 to 24 months before arena-sized crowds gather.
Live Nation, the world’s largest live-entertainment company, has also tightened its belt in a climate that has seen most companies in this space lose virtually all of their income; CEO Michael Rapino has given up his salary for the year and approximately 20% of the staff has been furloughed. Similarly, multiple agencies have been hit with layoffs and furloughs in the past three months.
In the memo, Marciano references a prior memo from president Dan Beckerman that specifically addressed cutbacks, and he acknowledges how difficult the move is to make during a pandemic and mass protests across the country.
“This has been an incredibly challenging time on so many fronts, and I want you all to know that we are acutely aware of the toll that all of these factors are taking on everyone. There’s never a good time to go through what we are going through as a company, but this is an especially difficult one,” Marciano wrote, mentioning in the next paragraph that the company has delayed the move for as long as it could under the circumstances, and worked to provide “the best safety net we could provide” to the affected staffers.
“We did not come to today’s decisions lightly. During the last few months we kept our company intact to ensure that those of you who would be the most affected would have the best safety net we could provide. While it’s small solace, I see this as a testament to the culture that exists at AEG and the important role you have played in building this environment.”
Marciano acknowledges the impact that the pandemic has had on the live-entertainment business, which in recent years was a financial juggernaut, spawning many tours that grossed in the hundreds of millions of dollars; according to concert industry trade publication Pollstar, its top 100 tours of 2019 raked in $5.5 billion in ticket sales alone.
As has been well documented, that business was laid flat in a matter of days by the coronavirus, and it’s unclear when it will begin to recover.
“I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that, just a few short months ago, nobody in our business — or any business — could have predicted where we would be today. The world has changed with an impact and scope that’s impossible to fathom,” he wrote.
“I wish I could tell you when it will be safe to reopen. At present, it appears large-scale events — the core of our business — will be the last to reopen. We will continue to monitor this daily, but the health and safety of our employees, artists and fans remains our highest priority. Simply put, we will reopen when we are confident that it is safe to do so.”
He concludes, “Even during these uncertain times, I am confident in one thing: our business WILL be back, and as strong as if not stronger than before. I know this doesn’t make today any easier, but our future is on tomorrow’s horizon.”
More to come …