Live Nation Will Dramatically Reduce Performing Artist Payouts In 2021 — Here’s the Leaked Memo

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Owing to the immense fiscal and operational impact that the novel coronavirus has had on the live music sphere, leading concert promoter Live Nation is preparing to dramatically reduce artist payouts in 2021.

Live Nation officials recently shared the corresponding memo with talent agencies – and possibly artist managers – and the document subsequently made its way onto the web.

The announcement opens by emphasizing the “unprecedented” nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for crowd-based live-event companies. (Live Nation put its concerts on ice back in March and is in the process of testing socially distanced concerts in New Zealand.)

Because of the coronavirus’s effects, Live Nation “must adequately account for the shift in market demand, the exponential rise of certain costs, and the overall increase of uncertainty that materially affects our mission,” per the memo.

Most notably, next year will see Live Nation’s artist guarantees drop 20 percent from 2020 rates. Additionally, in the event that an artist cancels a performance “in breach of the agreement,” he or she will be required to pay the promoter twice the show’s agreed upon compensation.

Artists stand to secure 25 percent of their performance fees for concerts that are canceled due to low ticket sales – a potentially significant point, depending on how many fans feel comfortable returning to gigs.

The far-reaching list of changes also notes that Live Nation artists are now “required” to “maintain” their own performance insurance. When Live Nation concerts are nixed due to “an event of force majeure,” or an unforeseeable circumstance such as the COVID-19 crisis, promoters will not pay artists the contractually specified fees. Rather, artists are “responsible for obtaining any cancellation insurance.”

Lastly, artists will receive a 10 percent deposit one month out from their scheduled performances – a figure that appears to reflect the difficulties Live Nation and other concert promoters faced in the immediate wake of the coronavirus pandemic, when a number of fans pushed to receive refunds for their tickets.

At the time of this writing, Live Nation’s shares, traded under the symbol LYV, were down slightly on the day, to just under $48 apiece.

Read the full text of Live Nation’s artist compensation memo here:

The global pandemic has changed the world in recent months and with it the dynamics of the music industry. We are in unprecedented times and must adequately account for the shift in market demand, the exponential rise of certain costs and the overall increase of uncertainty that materially affects our mission. In order for us to move forward, we must make certain changes to our agreements with the artists. The principle changes for 2021 are outlined below.

Artist Guarantees: Artist guarantees will be adjusted downward 20% from 2020 levels.

Ticket Prices: Ticket prices are set by the promoter, at the promoter’s sole discretion, and are subject to change.

Payment Terms: Artists will receive a deposit of 10% one month before the festival, contingent on an executed agreement and fulfillment of marketing responsibilities. The balance, minus standard deductions for taxes and production costs, will be paid after the performance.

Minimum Marketing Requirements: All artists will be required to assist in marketing of the festival through minimum social media posting requirements outlined in artist offer.

Streaming requirements: All artists will be required to allow their performance to be filmed by the festival for use in a live television broadcast, a live webcast, on-demand streaming, and/or live satellite radio broadcast.

Billing: All decisions regarding “festival billing” are at the sole discretion of the promoter.

Merchandise: Purchaser will retain 30 % of Artist merchandise sales and send 70% to the artist within two weeks following the Festival.

Airfare and Accommodations: These expenses will be the responsibility of the artist.

Sponsorship: The promoter controls all sponsorship at the festival without any restrictions, and artists may not promote brands onstage or in its productions.

Radius Clause. Violation of a radius clause without the festival’s prior authorization in writing will, at the festival’s sole discretion, result in either a reduction of the artist fee or the removal of the artist from the event, with any pre-event deposits returned to the festival immediately.

Insurance: The artist is required to maintain its own cancellation insurance as the promoter is not responsible for the artist fee in the event of a cancellation of the festival due to weather or a force majeure.

Cancellation by Artist: If an artist cancels its performance in breach of the agreement, the artist will pay the promoter two times the artist’s fee.

Cancellation Due to Poor Sales. If a show is cancelled due to poor ticket sales, the artist will receive 25% of the guarantee.

Force Majeure: If the artist’s performance is canceled due to an event of force majeure – including a pandemic similar to Covid-19 – the promoter will not pay the artist its fee. The artist is responsible for obtaining any cancellation insurance for its performance.

Inability to Use Full Capacity of the Venue: If the promoter – either because of orders of the venue or any governmental entity – is not permitted to use the full capacity of the venue, then the promoter may terminate the agreement, and artist will refund any money previously paid.

We are fully aware of the significance of these changes, and we did not make these changes without serious consideration. We appreciate you – and all artists – understanding the need for us to make these changes in order to allow the festival business to continue not only for the artists and the producers, but also for the fans.

5 Responses

  1. Zombie Company

    Sounds like Live Nation is on its last days

    Another superfluous company, a lossy middleman who thought they could be as powerful as creators

    If musicians must do all these things why use you?

    Why put on a large concert if we have to insure it ourselves?

    Why do you think musicians tolerate you? Now you have no real purpose!

    Creators are immortal did you really think you could touch us?

    In 5 years we all will be struggling to remember your name… We will however remember all of your employees of which only the most foolish musician would employ snakes!

    And Now look at you….like a used up whore! And wait to see the site of your pretty $48 dollar stock price once the short sellers get there hands on you!!! Those boys I hear are vicious to used up whores. Especially to imposters who were ruthless to the people they suppressed. Not that they need an excuse but I’d assume it feels good to gut a company that has a overblown sense of its importance and made the lives of all who did business with them misserable!

    Watching Live Nation lumber round in its debut is like a 600lb woman at the store reaching for the top shelf! You wouldn’t be around if you didn’t shove yourself into that electric scooter….Now toddle off

    Ha ha ha feels good to be alive today

    Take note… The boulevard of broken dreams is covered in washed up bloviated nothing companies… Live Nation was always just another no face run amock!

    See you in the fall boys!

    Rents due bitches!!!!

    And the Fed stops its handouts!

    I can smell the PSL and turning leaves already!

    • Mike Crapino

      It’s just a small bump in the road for LN. I heard they are doing an internal re-org and will come back stronger than ever with a focus on renting out clowns for kids birthday parties.

      • Wish In One Hand Crap In The Other See Which Gets Filled First!

        Aren’t you sweet…

        Let me give you a free lesson…

        Look to your right

        Than to your left



        All you survey…

        Is going to dissapear!

        And the first to go…

        Is the music monopoly

        All Companies that didn’t innovate are dust

        The richest people and companies you can think of

        Will be poor

        This is year zero

        Get any extra currency you have in the bank

        Out of the bank

        The banks no longer required to keep reserves on hand

        FDIC insurance is like 14¢ on the dollar

        You didn’t learn in 08 that the FDIC insures UP TO 200k

        Look it up!


        You did them a favor putting your 1200 in the bank

        Paid off credit cards

        Fattened them up

        Just like the pensions

        Did you put in the full amount

        Maybe more after 08 to fix your losses

        You fed them even more…

        The Gov’t “help”

        Has a July Aug Sept deadline

        There are already 48m Americans out of work

        And millions say the Unemployment office isn’t answering calls…

        Local tax revenue is down cities will start cutting employees & services

        The 3 months the govt helped small businesses keep employees

        starts to run out next month

        Now that will be White Collar workers…

        Then the hyperinflation will come

        And your dollar will be worthless ,

        Because the FED a private bank is counterfeiting money via the govt

        Study The Mississippi Bubble

        This is on the horizon

        Moments away from it

        So exactly how does Live Nation Deal with that

        On top of being closed until 2021? 2022?

        The Spanish flu lasted a few years…

        Yeah real sturdy business model

        Loaded up on debut!

        Openly admit to not using GAP Accounting practices

        Who knows what Live Nation is hiding….

        Tide is going out again

        Are you swimming naked?

        Because Live Nation Sure Is!

  2. AJ

    Live Nation is the promoter, they own the ticketing processor and often own the venue. They have been triple dipping for years. And all that was after they put most small promoters out of business when they were still called “Clear Channel.”

    This is crap, they make way too much money already.

  3. Johnny

    You would think all the Artists would come together, start their own company which controls EVERYTHING while eliminating all middle men and keeping all the monies from their labors. But instead they give away 90% and keep next to nothing! Time for change?!