Live Nation Has Already Lost $54.3 Million This Year

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Actually, this is much better than last year, and there are some signs of improvement.

But there’s still a lot of red ink: during the first three months of this year, net losses at Live Nation topped $54.3 million, according to the company.  During the comparable, first three months of 2010, the loss figure was a whopping $123 million.

Part of this can be blamed on the economy, through there are also broader shifts in concert-attending behavior.  And, discounts helped to address slimmer wallets.  Year-over-year, attendance slipped slightly to 6.96 million, from 6.98 million during the comparable quarter last year.  But sponsorship revenue improved, as did ticketing sales volume (an 11 percent gain was normalized to include the merged Ticketmaster).

The question is whether ticketing discounts are camouflaging a bigger problem, and what the all-important summer season will look like.  “We believe that our business environment is starting to improve over last year and we’re encouraged with overall trends to date,” said Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino, whose 2010 compensation package approached $15.9 million.

Revenues also elevated 17.4 percent to $849.4 million, though this is a company that keeps posting gargantuan losses. Last year, net losses reached an almost unbelievable $228.3 million.  In 2009, the loss figure was $60.2 million, and 2008 featured a mega-loss of $239.4 million.