Live Nation president and CFO Joe Berchtold said the company has had a “raging start” to the year, having sold almost twice as many tickets in January and February than in the same period last year.
In an interview as part of Morgan Stanley’s Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, Berchtold said strong sales were being experienced across all ticket types: “At this point, we’ve sold twice as many platinum tickets as we’d sold at this point last year, so the high end is continuing to move very strongly, and artists are continuing to look to adopt platinum tickets to capture more of the value.
“At the same time, artists are continuing to price the back of the house reasonably to make sure everybody can afford to get a ticket.”
He also claimed that it was not just the A-list stars whose shows are in high demand: “The demand is very broad and very deep. Last week, Ticketmaster sold over six million tickets in a week, which we’ve done many times before but what was interesting here is that no single artist accounted for more than 150,000 tickets. It wasn’t a big onsale week and that just demonstrates the breadth of the demand so it’s not just the Beyonces that are selling these tickets,”
The LNE executive also addressed the issue of increased regulatory scrutiny that the company and its Ticketmaster arm have faced since the Taylor Swift onsale problems experienced in November.
He suggested a review of Live Nation’s consent decree with Department of Justice, was unlikely: “We have a binding agreement with the DOJ as it relates to any perceived deeds in the past, much as you have individual settlements. So there has never been a situation where the DOJ has come and attempted to retrade a settlement,”
Berchtold also talked of LNE’s push to tackle touts with the FAIR Ticketing Act. He also suggested the company would continue with its dynamic ticket pricing strategy, noting that it has been adopted by a growing number of artists.
He said dynamic pricing helped artists capture revenue instead of touts: “Every time an artist comes out and publicly says I’m a great artist and I should capture the value of my performance not the scalper, then that’s helpful for other artists to be comfortable in doing so.
“It’s more transparency and a greater understanding of more artists who say ‘I know you priced that front row at $200 dollars because you want your 16-year-old screaming fan to get the tickets, but they don’t have a prayer. It’s going to be $2,000 dollars and the only question is do you get $200, and the scalper gets $1800 or are you getting closer to the $2000?”