• Market Crumbs

People Are Hanging On To Concert Tickets


Image via alex bracken on Unsplash

Earlier this year we wrote about Ticketmaster and events promoter Live Nation caving to pressure to refund customers who purchased tickets to events that were postponed due to the coronavirus.


At the time, Ticketmaster cancelled or postponed 30,000 events worth $2 billion in ticket sales. Customers were given 30 days to request a refund or get a credit for a future purchase.


Live Nation now says that 86% of customers who were offered refunds decided to keep their tickets for rescheduled shows. The company also said about two-thirds of ticket holders for festivals also decided to keep their tickets instead of getting a refund.


The bad news for Live Nation is revenue in the second quarter, which is the busiest part of the year for the industry, fell by 98% compared to the same period last year. Concert division revenue dropped by 95% year-over-year to $141.8 million from $2.6 billion.


As a result of the refunds, Live Nation posted a negative $86 million in sales for ticketing. During the same period last year, ticketing revenue was $371 million. Live Nation said it has already sold 19 million tickets to 4,000 festivals and concerts for 2021.


"Over the past three months, our top priority has been strengthening our financial position to ensure that we have the liquidity and flexibility to get through an extended period with no live events," CEO of Live Nation Michael Rapino said. "Our expectation is that live events will return at scale in the summer of 2021, with ticket sales ramping up in the quarters leading up to these shows."


Shares of Live Nation remain well above their lows from March but are still down more than 30% from their all-time high in February.

Although they don't generate the returns of concerts, Live Nation noted its virtual concerts saw 67 million views in the second quarter. Rapino noted virtual concerts are a promising platform over the long term.


The pandemic has hit the live music industry hard with Live Nation among a handful of companies such as its competitor AEG and major booking agencies that have announced furloughs or layoffs. The pandemic also led to the formation of the National Independent Venue Association which found that more than 1,000 independent venues could close within six months without financial assistance.


While its encouraging so many are opting to hang on to their tickets, it still remains to be determined when live concerts will return. Unfortunately, even if they do return in 2021 it may be too late for many in the industry.


Leftover Crumbs

  • Amazon to fill mall space? Amazon is reportedly in discussions with Simon Property Group to use empty Sears and J.C. Penney stores as fulfillment centers. The report didn't say how many locations Amazon is eyeing but would be able to use the space to add fulfillment capacity closer to its customers. Both Amazon and Simon Property Group declined to comment on the report. "For Amazon, more fulfillment centers near residential areas would speed up the crucial last mile of delivery, The Wall Street Journal said. "For Simon, turning over what was once prime mall space to fulfillment centers shows it would be willing to relinquish an essential way to bring in more mall traffic to secure a steady tenant."

  • Twitter eyes TikTok. Twitter has reportedly approached ByteDance about buying TikTok's U.S. operations as Microsoft also eyes a deal. A deal by Twitter seems far less likely, as Twitter's market capitalization is about what TikTok's U.S. operations would cost. However, one of Twitter's investors—Silver Lake, is reportedly willing to help fund a deal. Twitter has argued that it will face less pressure to complete a deal in both the U.S. and in China, where it does not operate.

  • ByteDance eyes brokerage industry. ByteDance has filed trademark documents in Hong Kong which imply the TikTok owner is looking to enter the online stock brokerage industry. A trademark application for Songshu Zhengquan, which translates to Squirrel Securities, said the company seeks to enter the areas of "computerized financial information services, stock trading, brokerage services and stock exchange quotations." A source for ByteDance said the company has filed for license but a launch in the online stock brokerage isn't imminent as the company has just one employee assigned to the project.

  • McDonald's sues former CEO. McDonald's has filed a lawsuit against its former CEO Steve Easterbrook alleging that he hid relationships with three other employees when he was fired for having a relationship with a different employee. McDonald's is seeking to recoup the severance it paid Easterbrook, which is estimated to be $40 million. "Based on the results of the investigation, the board concluded that Mr. Easterbrook lied to the company and the board and destroyed information regarding inappropriate personal behavior and in fact had been involved in sexual relationships with three additional company employees prior to his termination, all in violation of company policy," McDonald's said.

  • Nikola strikes garbage truck deal. Shares of Nikola soared yesterday on news it signed a deal with Republic Services to deliver 2,500 all-electric refuse trucks with the option to increase the order to 5,000. Nikola expects to begin production and testing in early 2022 and deliver the trucks in 2023. Nikola founder Trevor Milton said the "refuse market is one of the most stable markets in the industry and provides long-term shareholder value."