Live Nation earns record profit amid concert boom

1 / 2

In 2015, Live Nation promoted 25,000 concerts that drew more than 63 million fans, including Lollapalooza music festival

In 2015, Live Nation promoted 25,000 concerts that drew more than 63 million fans, including Lollapalooza music festival (AFP Photo/Michael Hickey)

New York (AFP) - Leading entertainment company Live Nation said its profit soared to a record high, as the global market for concerts booms -- along with the company's skill at making money through them.

The rapid growth in live music, especially festivals, contrasts with the doldrums frequently faced since the 2000s by the recorded music industry.

Live Nation Entertainment, the world's largest concert promoter whose holdings include Ticketmaster, on Thursday reported revenue of $7.6 billion in 2015, up 11 percent from the previous calendar year on a constant currency basis.

Operating profit hit a record of $155.9 million, sharply higher than in 2014, when the figure was down due to an impairment charge.

But for fourth quarter, Live Nation posted an operating loss of nearly $34 million, blamed in part on foreign exchange factors.

For the full year, Live Nation posted its strongest growth in advertising and sponsorship as it worked with companies to target fans both at concerts and online.

Advertising per fan grew by eight percent over the year as Live Nation developed new products and pulled in more fans, it said.

The company predicted strong growth in 2016 as it ramps up the number of concerts and promotes tours of major stars such as Beyonce and Rihanna.

In 2015, Live Nation promoted 25,000 concerts that drew more than 63 million fans, a growth of five million from the previous year.

While based in Los Angeles, Live Nation has been reaching out globally. Earlier this week it announced the acquisition of South Africa's leading promoter, Big Concerts.

Michael Rapino, Live Nation's president and chief executive officer, said that stars were increasingly thinking about emerging markets as the entertainment world becomes more interconnected.

"The more and more we sit with these artists and talk about what's their global plan, the more and more they are looking at places like South America and Asia, and South Africa and Cape Town, to add to their itinerary," Rapino said on a conference call about the earnings.

"We want to be ahead of the curve on having our platform in place so we can monetize that content," he said.

Live Nation has also expanded rapidly at home. Last year it acquired Bonnaroo, one of the best-known US festivals which brings up to 90,000 fans each summer to rural Tennessee.

Its portfolio also includes Lollapalooza and Britain's Reading and Leeds festivals.