Live Nation Entertainment saw revenue rocket 1,366.9% during the third quarter of its 2021 financial year, as the return of live events led to record figures for the business. 

Revenue for the three months to September 30 amounted to $2.70bn (£2.00bn/€2.34bn), up from $184.0m in the corresponding period last year, during which the majority of live events were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ticketmaster achieved its highest quarterly operating income ever, coming in at $114m.

Concerts revenue was up 1,290.2% to $2.15bn as countries around the world began to ease COVID-19 restrictions and consumers were able to once again attend events.

Ticketing revenue reached $374.2m, compared to a loss of $19.8m in Q3 of last year, while sponsorship and advertising revenue hiked 264.1%. However, Live Nation did report a small loss – $1.7m – from eliminations and other areas.

Looking at costs and the restart of live events meant that direct operating expenses were up 1,407.2% to $2.0bn, while selling, general and administrative spending increased 10.1% to $446.9m.

Other spending included $101.2m for depreciation and amortisation, though this was down 15.6% on last year, while corporate expenses were up 41.1% to $44.6m and Live Nation also reported a $1.1m loss from the disposal of operating assets.

This left an operating income of $137.1m, compared to a loss of $504.4m last year and a new quarterly record, with all areas of the business seeing positive operating income.  

Turning to financial costs and interest expense amounted to $70.4m and other expenses $12.4m, but Live Nation did see $1.3m in interest income, $7.0m from non-consolidated affiliates and $0.6m from the sale of investments in non-consolidated affiliates.

As a result, pre-tax profit reached $93.3m, a stark contrast to the $559.4m loss posted at the same point in 2020.

Live Nation paid $6.4m in tax, leaving a net profit of $86.9m, compared to a $542.5m loss last year. When accounting for the $40.0m of profit came from non-controlling interests, this meant net profit attributable to Live Nation was $46.9m, still a huge improvement from a $528.9m loss in 2020.

“Live music roared back over the past quarter, driving all our business segments to positive operating income and adjusted operating profit for the first time in two years,” Live Nation president and chief executive Michael Rapino said.

“The 2021 summer concerts season rebounded quickly, with 17 million fans attending our shows in the quarter, as the return to live reflected tremendous pent-up demand.  Festivals were a large part of our return to live this summer, with many of our festivals selling out in record time and overall ticket sales for major festivals were up 10% versus 2019.”

Looking at the year-to-date, revenue in the nine months to the end of September amounted to $3.57bn, up 120.4% year-on-year. Concerts revenue hiked 107.8% to $2.68bn, ticketing revenue 264.5% to $646.6m and sponsorship and advertising revenue 54.3% to $241.7m.

After accounting for operating costs, operating loss was $293.3m, compared to a $1.27bn loss in 2020, while after finance-related expenses, pre-tax loss was $431.2m, again a huge improvement on a $1.41bn loss last year.

Live Nation paid $15.1in tax, leaving a net loss of $446.3m, much shorter than $1.36bn in the same period last year. Some $9.7m of profit was attributed to non-controlling interests, meaning net loss attributable to Live Nation was $446.0m, compared to a $1.28bn loss at the same point in 2020.

“As we get close to turning the page on 2021, I remain more convinced than ever on the power and potential of live entertainment, and the strength of our position,” Rapino said. “No industry was more impacted by the pandemic over the last two years, and no industry has so proven its durability of demand in the face of such disruption.

“I fully expect we will continue to have bumps in the road in the coming months, and it will take some time for international artists to be touring on a truly global basis, but the fundamental strength of live entertainment and Live Nation has proven out, and I expect we will only continue to grow from here.”

Image: Aditya Chinchure on Unsplash and Pien Muller on Unsplash