Issue #205

After months (years?) of threats, the US Department of Justice officially sued Live Nation and Ticketmaster alleging that its antitrust and monopolistic positioning directly harm competitors and consumers. 

And while 2020 was the year of cancellations, 2024 feels like it is not far behind with more and more festivals plugging the plug around the world.

Credit: Bart Heemskerk

Q1 growth for CTS Eventim

CTS Eventim posted an 11.6% increase in consolidated revenue during the first quarter of 2024; growing from €366.2 million ($397.6 million USD) to €408.7 million ($443.7 million USD). The growth was led by a 23.3% increase in ticketing from the same period last year, with a total of €182.8 million in revenue and a 4.8% increase in the live entertainment segment (€234.4 million total). Activity from See Tickets was not included in any of these numbers.

College students: Apply now for CAA’s The Hubb

The application for CAA’s The Hubb, an invite-only networking and professional development summit for college students, is open now through May 31. Accepted students will be immersed in various sectors of the live music business, get to meet with artists and executives, and have the opportunity to attend workshops by recruiters. The Hubb takes place at CAA’s Nashville, TN offices October 13 - 15.

So far this year, 40 UK Festivals have been canceled and the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) warns that the trend is unlikely to end soon. The cancellations have largely been due to  rising operational costs, fewer ticket sales, and challenges stemming from the pandemic (yes, still). This summer, AIF’s 5% for Festivals campaign is asking the UK government to lower the VAT on music festival ticket sales from 20% down to 5% for three years to help the industry recover and prevent further closures.

The Dutch government has proposed an increase in sales tax (VAT) on leisure activities from 9% to 21% starting in 2026. The Vereniging Nederlandse Poppodia en Festivals (VNPF) and the association of event organizers (VVEM) warn that this hike will harm the live music industry, leading to higher ticket prices, reduced accessibility to cultural events, and less attractiveness for international artists. They argue it will also result in fewer investments, job losses, and reduced competitiveness compared to neighboring countries with lower VAT rates.

Australia's music festivals may finally be getting the life-saving support they need. The recently passed 2024-25 budget includes the Revive Live program, an $8.6 million AUD ($5.725 million USD) fund for festivals and venues that feature Australian bands and artists. This new program replaces the Live Music Australia program, which offered $5 million in aid to the live music industry. It remains to be seen if this increase in funding will be sufficient to revive the struggling live music industry in Australia.

Primavera Sound continues to build on its already award-winning sustainability efforts. This year’s event, to be held this weekend in Barcelona, Spain, will have four stages connected to the grid and two stages that will be powered by a combination of grid and battery power, all to reduce emissions. They plan to reduce water consumption by 90% by optimizing water use and recirculating wastewater in 85% of their restrooms. Primavera Sound is the only music festival allied with the Sustainable Development Goals campaign of the United Nations.

Over 60% of UK Freelancers are “optimistic about the next 12 months” in the live music industry, according to a survey by Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment (LIVE). The survey, which included 1,281 respondents, emphasized the necessity for changes to enhance the freelance working environment in the industry​ such as financial security, better pay, and work-life balance. 48% indicated that they had gigs canceled with less than 1 week’s notice - not ideal, but also not surprising given the large amount of cancellations this year.

  • AEG Presents: Nick Spampanato has been promoted from Senior Vice President of Venue Operations to Chief Operating Officer, Venues.

  • ASM Global: After 25 years at the company, Tim Worton is stepping down as Group Director of Arenas and embarking on a new career. Worton is entering a year-long program at Moore Theological College in Sydney with the goal of pivoting to a pastoral, chaplaincy or ministry role.

  • Oak View Group: Keegan McDonald has been promoted to President, M&A & Development.

  • Sports Illustrated Tickets: Former NFL Quarterback Drew Brees has invested in SI Tickets.

Will Live Nation and Ticketmaster be forced to break up? 💔

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Headliners, Lineups, and Festival Announcements 

  • Global Dance Festival will feature The Chainsmokers, Fisher, Kaytranada, and Ravenscoon, July 26 - 27 at the Stockyards Event Center Grounds in Denver, CO.

  • Bumbershoot Arts & Music Festival announced Pavement, James Blake, and Courtney Barnett for the August 31 - September 1 fest in Seattle, WA.

  • Mempho Fest revealed Queens Of The Stone Age, Trey Anastasio, Goose, and The Roots will perform on October 4 - 6 at the Radians Amphitheater at Memphis Botanic Garden in Memphis, TN.

  • Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, Los Tigres Del Norte, and Banda MS will headline Bésame Mucho, December 21 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA.


  • Sueños Music Festival in Grant Park, Chicago, IL canceled just before headliner Peso Pluma was set to perform due to heavy storms in the area on Sunday evening. The event promises refund info soon.

  • Jack Harlow’s Gazebo Festival was also canceled on Sunday afternoon due to “continuing hazardous conditions”. Sunday ticket holders have been promised a full refund and weekend ticket holders will get a 50% refund. 

  • Bad Omens have canceled their summer tour stops in Europe and the UK due to "extreme burnout" and being pushed "to the limits of [their] mental bandwidth," according to singer Noah Sebastian.

  • Vibiscum Festival in Switzerland canceled due to low ticket sales and told those who did buy tickets, “Due to the financial difficulties we are facing, we regret to inform you that we are unable to provide ticket refunds at this time.” However, they “are actively exploring all available options to compensate ticket holders for their losses,” whatever that means.

  • Music Festival Wizard’s list of Music Festivals Canceled so Far in 2024

The DOJ vs Live Nation 🥊

The US Justice Department sued Live Nation and Ticketmaster last week, demanding the monopoly be broken up. The antitrust lawsuit was officially filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, but 29 states and the District of Columbia have joined in.

The allegations:

  • Antitrust: Live Nation engaged in anticompetitive behavior by using its dominant position in the live entertainment industry to stifle competition.

  • Exclusivity: Live Nation pressured venues and concert promoters into exclusive deals, limiting competition and disadvantaging rival companies.

  • Market Control: Live Nation's control over major music venues and its ticketing services give it undue influence over the industry (the "self-reinforcing 'flywheel,'”), potentially harming both consumers and competitors.

Live Nation quickly responded:

The lawsuit is an “attempt to portray Live Nation and Ticketmaster as the cause of fan frustration with the live entertainment industry.” It "ignores everything that is actually responsible for higher ticket prices, from increasing production costs to artist popularity, to 24/7 online ticket scalping that reveals the public’s willingness to pay far more than primary tickets cost." [Live Nation]

And, “Based on the issues we know about, we don’t believe a breakup of Live Nation and Ticketmaster would be a legally permissible remedy,” said Live Nation CFO and president Joe Berchtold.

Despite media attention and fans' excitement, many in the entertainment industry believe the lawsuit against ticket sales and pricing practices will not significantly impact consumers.

Whatever happens won’t cut concert prices. [Global News]

“In fact, the things that most enrage fans — cryptic “service” fees, long wait times, the predatory secondary market and its bots that buy up blocks of tickets before ordinary humans can get near them — are outside the purview of the lawsuit.” [Variety]

“If you think any change is going to trickle down to the consumer, you’re delusional.” [Bob Lefsetz]

  • The best books of 2024 so far.

  • Venice, Italy introduced a €5 access fee to enter the city for the day. While it’s bringing in new revenue, it’s failing to accomplish its goal: curb tourism

  • The creative community shares its tips for managing mental health for freelancers.

  • Hulu’s docuseries “Camden” reflecting on London’s music scene includes Coldplay, Oasis, Nile Rodgers, and Boy George and is produced by Dua Lipa.

  • I regret to inform you that sweatpant-jeans are sweeping America.

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