Amid congressional scrutiny over its business practices and market positioning – on top of an ongoing Justice Department antitrust investigation – Live Nation is continuing to lobby extensively, reports and disclosure forms show.
The lobbying expenditures of Live Nation, a sizable portion of which belongs to Saudi Arabia’s government, came to light in multiple reports as well as official disclosures filed by the Beverly Hills-based promoter.
Though the Ticketmaster parent company has long been the subject of fan and lawmaker pushback, criticism ramped up following the high-profile ticketing fiasco involving Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour.
To be sure, Live Nation is still grappling with lawsuits filed by shortchanged Swifties who were unable to nab pre-sale passes. Meanwhile, the Senate responded to the tidal wave of outrage from fed-up fans by announcing a bipartisan hearing on “the lack of competition in the ticketing industry,” and the House last month demanded a “staff briefing” with Live Nation.
A subsequent ticketing debacle, this time involving Bad Bunny’s ultra-popular concerts, spurred further criticism and sparked international outrage. Against the backdrop of these developments – and the initially highlighted antitrust probe – expenses associated with forging deeper ties with lawmakers remain substantial.
Specifically, disclosure forms signed off on by Live Nation’s SVP of public affairs and policy, Jonathan Lamy, display significant expenses “relating to lobbying activities” in the House and the Senate alike. Especially given the above-described occurrences, it stands to reason that the fourth-quarter figure (which should be posted in a little over two weeks) could be larger yet.
Furthermore, Live Nation “has dramatically increased its federal lobbying efforts since 2017,” OpenSecrets has acknowledged, with the entity’s 2021 expenses having come in at $1.2 million, per the same source. And Live Nation is likewise said to have “spent $90,000 lobbying at the state level in Florida” in 2022 in order to beat a ticketing-reform bill.
It’ll be worth monitoring the situation – Live Nation’s lobbying undertakings as well as regulatory initiatives from the government – throughout 2023.
In many ways, today’s discussions of Live Nation have picked up where pre-pandemic talks left off, as the BOSS Act, or the Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing Act, was the subject of debate just before the onset of COVID-19.
And while the unprecedented damage inflicted by lockdown measures decimated Live Nation’s operations (and the wider crowd-based entertainment sphere) during 2020 and a good deal of 2021, 2022 delivered a much-needed comeback – besides an array of related consequences. Live Nation, which is expected to reveal its Q4 2022 earnings in late February, posted a 130 percent year-over-year revenue jump in the third quarter.