It turns out Michael Rapino’s $139 million pay package is costing Live Nation in more ways than one, as the promoter now has the dubious distinction of shelling out the largest CEO paycheck and having the biggest wage gap of 100 S&P 500 companies analyzed in a new study.
The shocking stats came to light in the Institute for Policy Studies’ just-published 29th annual “Executive Excess” report. An in-depth look at the 100 S&P 500 corporations with “the lowest median worker pay levels in 2022,” the comprehensive resource notes off the bat that the average gap between the CEO income of “Low-Wage 100” companies and their mean median employee pay was 603 to one during 2022.
Though sizable to say the least, the ratio is far smaller than that which the study attached to the 2022 windfall enjoyed by Rapino, who’s said to have pocketed an astonishing 5,414 times more than Live Nation’s median income of $25,673.
For additional reference, this ratio, besides topping the average by a massive margin, surpassed those of well-known companies like Walmart (a 933 CEO-to-worker pay ratio for 2022), McDonald’s (1,224), Coca-Cola (1,883), and Dollar Tree (951), the analysis shows.
Digital Music News previously covered Rapino’s astronomical compensation package, which beat that of other execs including Apple’s Tim Cook ($99 million). Moreover, 54 percent of Live Nation shareholders rejected the substantial 2022 payday in a non-binding vote; the Beverly Hills-based business’s board of directors has the final say on the matter, however.
Also worth noting is that the Ticketmaster parent has taken “great pains” to downplay the gap between Rapino’s pay and median income, per the Institute for Policy Studies.
“In its proxy statement,” the organization’s report reads in part, “the company takes great pains to point out that if you nix the CEO’s $109 million stock grant and all of the company’s primarily part-time employees from the calculation, the Live Nation pay ratio would be merely 353 to 1.”
Notwithstanding its less-than-ideal positioning within the 2023 Executive Excess report, Live Nation is hardly the only music industry company with vastly overpaid higher-ups. To be sure, after pulling in a reported $201 million when Universal Music Group listed on the public market in 2021, CEO Lucian Grainge in May won shareholder approval of a $150 million pay bonanza for 2022.
More recently, Spotify head Daniel Ek about one month back went ahead and dumped roughly $100 million worth of stock in the music streaming giant, which has benefited from a per-share price rebound of approximately 72 percent since 2023’s beginning. May of 2022 had seen the Stockholm native disclose a $50 million SPOT investment when shares were hovering around what was at the time a record low.