An ‘Amazing Day’ Indeed: Western Australian Gov’t Reportedly Gave Live Nation a $5.4 Million Subsidy for Two Coldplay Concerts

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A live performance from Coldplay. Photo Credit: Raph_PH

Western Australian government officials must be major Coldplay fans, as they reportedly paid a whopping $5.39 million (A$8 million) to subsidize a pair of the band’s Live Nation-promoted shows.

That massive payment entered the media spotlight in a new Guardian report, which also covers several other subsidies directed towards the Ticketmaster parent down under.

Beginning with the Coldplay shows, the WA government put up $5.39 million specifically to bring the decades-old group to Perth’s Optus Stadium for two concerts this past November. (Coldplay is set to return to Australia in late October of 2024.)

There are, of course, consumer-spending and tourism-related upsides associated with hosting a commercially prominent act like Coldplay. And on this front, Tourism Western Australia touted the “‘tens of millions of visitor spend’” ostensibly fueled by the gigs and pointed to a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of the subsidy.

Nevertheless, obvious questions remain about the arrangement – and in particular why such a highly popular band and a decidedly profitable company needed millions in taxpayer funds.

As many know, amid signs of growing difficulties throughout the live space, a number of concerts and festivals are struggling in Australia. In turn, that means less money is reaching musicians, without whom there wouldn’t be a live music sub-sector at all.

Additionally, the expenses and logistical considerations of making the trek to and staging concerts in Australia are substantial. But millions of dollars will go a long way towards rendering the process worthwhile, especially when the band at hand is seemingly selling out 70,000-person arenas to boot.

Shifting the focus back to Live Nation itself, the nearly $22 billion company rather astonishingly raked in WA government grants worth a cumulative $2.36 million (A$3.5 million) via entities it now owns “to cover financial losses caused by cancelled concerts during Covid,” per the Guardian.

Plus, the business, which is banking on 2024’s being another record year, has scored in excess of $10.78 million in separate payments from Australia’s federal and regional governments, according to the same outlet.

Predictably, the compensation and perks afforded to Live Nation, which is grappling with an antitrust suit in the U.S., appear unlikely to end anytime soon.

First, the entity’s Mellen Events subsidiary possesses a multimillion-dollar lease with the WA government for outdoor happenings in Kings Park. Officials have reportedly declined to disclose precisely how many applications were received before the lease’s renewal last year, and Western Australia Premier Roger Cook is said to have attended a sold-out Tom Jones show at the venue as a “VIP guest” in March of 2024.

Not stopping there, the WA government reportedly intends to pay Live Nation another $3.13 million (A$4.65 million) during the coming three years “to run a commercial food and wine event in” Margaret River, which regional outlets say is still bouncing back from a lockdown-driven tourism downturn.