Live Nation Had Another Record Year as Its Business Went Global & Fans Continued Flocking to Shows

Live Nation had another record year in 2023, topping the all-time highs reached in 2022 when artists hit the road in heavy numbers after COVID-19 restrictions shut down the touring business for most of 2020 and 2021.  

The concert promoter and ticketing giant had revenue of $22.7 billion in 2023, up 36% from the prior year, thanks to record levels of attendance, ticket sales and sponsorships. Adjusted operating income (AOI) was $1.86 billion, up 32% year-over-year and double the AOI from 2019, the last full year before the pandemic.  

As artists went on tour in record numbers, there was ample fan demand to soak up the increased supply of live music. Concert attendance climbed 20.3% to 145.8 million. Attendance in North America rose 16.6% to 81.3 million and international attendance spiked 25.4% to 64.5 million. The biggest attendance gains came from stadium shows — notably Metallica, Beyonce and Luke Combs — which grew 60% to 29 million. The number of concerts — individual shows and festivals — rose 15.3% to 33,629 in North America and 13.5% to 16,430 internationally.  

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The rise of K-pop and Latin music, along with Live Nation’s Dec. 2021 acquisition of Mexican promoter OCESA, led to an increasingly international concert business. Live Nation’s top 50 tours had 50% more international acts in 2023 than five years ago, and additional international dates meant tours had 15% more shows on average.  

“Our digital world empowers artists to develop global followings, while inspiring fans to crave in-person experiences more than ever,” said president/CEO Michael Rapino in a statement. “At the same time, the industry is delivering a wider variety of concerts which draws in new audiences, and developing more venues to support a larger show pipeline.  

The concerts division’s full-year revenue increased 39% to $18.76 billion as demand increased across markets and venue types. At Live Nation’s owned and operated venues — branded as Venue Nation — attendance increased 13% to 55 million and ancillary per-person revenue had double-digit growth. At its amphitheaters, per-person spending increased 10% to over $40. Because Live Nation owns and operates those venues, its bottom line benefits from increased fan spending on items such as beverages, food and merchandise.  

At Ticketmaster, revenue rose 32% to $2.96 billion and AOI improved 35% to $1.12 billion. Total fee-bearing gross-transaction value (GTV) rose 30% to $36 billion — North America GTV rose 26% while international GTV jumped 42%. The number of fee-bearing tickets sold increased 17% to over 329 million. New clients accounted for 21 million additional tickets old, with about 80% of those coming from international markets. 

The sponsorship and advertising division’s revenue increased 13% to $1.1 billion and its AOI rose 14% to $675.1 million. Led by growth in beverage, technology and financial services sectors, Live Nation’s sponsorship business had over 100 partners with multi-million-dollar, multi-year commitments.

In the fourth quarter, historically a slow period compared to the spring and summer months, Live Nation’s revenue rose 36% to $5.8 billion. The concerts division’s revenue soared 44% to $4.87 billion. The company’s AOI rose 20% to $116.9 million in the quarter.

Looking ahead, “we expect all our businesses to continue growing and adding value to artists and fans as we deliver double-digit operating income and AOI growth again this year, with our profitability compounding by double-digits over the next several years,” Rapino added. Through mid-February, Live Nation has sold 57 million concert tickets, up 6% year-over-year, and Ticketmaster had $13 billion in fee-bearing gross-transaction-volume for events so far in 2024, a double-digit increase. In addition, the company has booked 75% of its expected sponsorship commitments, also a double-digit increase from the prior-year period. 

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