Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) said it spent $9.6 billion (£8.02bn) last year putting on shows, up 45% on 2019, to make it the single largest contributor to artist income.

The claim was made in its full year financial report, in which LNE said it had secured $16.7bn in revenue in 2022, up 44% on 2019, with operating income up 125% to $732 million. Annual operating income was up 49% to more than $1.4bn, and attendance grew 24% on 2019, with 121m fans attending 43,600 events.

LNE CEO Michael Rapino (pictured) said, “This growth came from all markets and venue types – every venue type from clubs and theatres to stadiums to festivals had double-digit attendance growth vs 2019.”

He said all signs point toward another record year in 2023 for the company: “First, our deferred revenue at the end of 2022 was $2.7 billion, up 125% from 2019 and up 18% from 2021 which benefited from a high volume of rescheduled shows.  Next, as of mid-February, ticket sales for our shows this year exceed 50 million fans, up 20% from this point last year, with international growth at 25%.  Then, our global ticketing fee-bearing gross transaction value is up 33% to $9.8 billion through the same period.  Finally, over 70% of our planned sponsorship activity for the year is confirmed, again up double-digits relative to this time last year.”

On the back of continued debate around the Live Nation and Ticketmaster merger in 2010 and the US Senate’s investigation into the ticketing market following the problems experienced during  the onsale for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, LNE has launched the FAIR Ticketing Act (FTA).

The FTA states that artists should decide resale rules in order to protect their ability to use face-value exchanges and limited transfer to keep pricing lower for fans, and prevent scalpers from exploiting fans. Selling speculative tickets should be illegal, the scope of the BOTS Act needs to be expanded and enforced, and there should be industry-wide all-in pricing so fans see the full cost they are paying up front.

“We believe that greater transparency on the entire ticketing ecosystem will improve the industry, and we have been engaging with policymakers to advocate for reforms,” said Rapino. “The biggest challenge facing the industry is chaos at the onsale, where fans cannot get the tickets at the price the artist sets, yet they see pages of secondary sites with tickets 5 times face value because of scalpers.”