Western Australia Government pays millions to Live Nation for Coldplay concerts

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The Government of Western Australia has paid millions to Live Nation Entertainment over the last four years, including A$8m (£4.2m/$5.4m/€4.9m) to subsidise two shows by Coldplay.

The band performed twice at Perth’s Optus Stadium in November last year in what was described by the government as a major coup.

The state’s government has refused to disclose how much it has paid to Live Nation, as reported by The Guardian.

Government documents disclose that A$8m was paid in relation to the British band’s appearances which were promoted by Live Nation.

Tourism WA said that the decision to award the money to Live Nation was made after “a rigorous assessment, cost benefit analysis, review and approvals process, including review and approval by the Tourism WA Board, Treasury and final sign off by the Minister for Tourism and Premier”.

Other documents shown in parliament state that the WA government also paid organisations now within the Live Nation group more than A$3.5m to cover financial losses caused by COVID-19-enforced cancellations.

The Coldplay payments have been defended by the tourism board as the concerts are claimed to have brought in “tens of millions” in terms of visitor spending.

Live Nation operates some of Australia’s largest music venues including Adelaide’s Hindley Street Music Hall, Festival Hall and Palais Theatre in Melbourne, and Brisbane’s Fortitude Music Hall.

In Perth, its subsidiary Mellen Events holds a lease with the WA government to stage outdoor concerts in the 6,500-capacity Kings Park.

As well as its presence in Australia, Live Nation is a dominant player in the United States. It is estimated that its concerts and events account for 32.2% of the country’s total revenue in the industry.

On its ticketing side, Ticketmaster, which is part of Live Nation, is believed to hold a 70% market domination.

The US Department of Justice has launched a civil antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation stating that it relies on “unlawful, anticompetitive conduct” which results in fans paying more in fees and artists having fewer opportunities.