Live Nation Entertainment, Inc.

Q1 2023 Earnings Conference Call


spk04: Good day, everyone. My name is John, and I will be your conference operator on today's call. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to Live Nation Entertainment's first quarter 2023 earnings conference call. Today's conference is being recorded. Following management's prepared remarks, we will open the call for Q&A. Instructions will be given at that time. Before we begin, Live Nation has asked me to remind you that this afternoon's call will contain certain forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ, including statements related to the company's anticipated financial performance, business prospects, new developments, and similar matters. These refer to Live Nation's SEC filings, including the risk factors and cautionary statements included in the company's most recent filings on forms 10-K, 10-Q, and 8-K for a description of risks and uncertainties that could impact the actual results. Live Nation will also refer to some non-GAAP measures on this call. In accordance with the SEC Regulation G, Live Nation has provided definitions of these measures and a full reconciliation to the most comparable GAAP measures in their earnings release or website supplement, which also contains other financial or statistical information to be discussed on this call. The release reconciliation and website supplement can be found under the financial information section on Live Nation's website, at It is now my pleasure to turn the conference over to Michael Rapinoe, President and Chief Executive Officer of Live Nation Entertainment. Please go ahead, sir.
spk09: Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us. 2023 is off to a tremendous start. For the first time in three years, all of our markets are fully open. And the common theme we are seeing around the world is that live experiences are a high priority for fans. In Q1, we delivered record results across all divisions, as well as record support for artists. From ticket sales to attendance and on-site spend, every sign points to incredible demand for live events. In the first quarter, over 19 million fans attended our shows across 45 countries, and we sold over 145 million tickets with record levels of activity across all markets. We delivered revenue of $3.1 billion and AOI of $320 million, up 73% and 53%, respectively, relative to Q1 last year. In general, all my comments will be relative to Q1 last year. This performance is indicative of a continued long-term growth and sets the stage for our record 2023, as we are more positive than ever about artists touring, fans attending concerts to see their favorite artists, and our role helping make this happen. But as clear as we look at our results and operating metrics, the global demand for live events continues to reach new heights. Demand has been growing for a long time and is showing no signs of letting up. Talking to fans, they say that live experiences are the number one leisure activity where they expect to spend more of the future. Naturally, this is leading to record levels of activity in both our concerts and ticketing business. First in concerts, we sold nearly 90 million tickets for shows this year, tracking more than 20% ahead of this point last year. These are early sales and have been driven by a record number of stadium shows and continued strong growth in arena tours. With many major tours from Beyonce, Drake, to Bruce Springsteen, demand has been so strong that even when artists add a number of additional shows, they still aren't able to meet all of the fan demand. As a further initiative to make tickets affordable to all fans, we launched today our Summer Concert Week with $25 tickets available to nearly 4,000 shows. When fans attend shows, they continue spending to enhance the experience. While our key outdoor season has not yet started, early reads from U.S. and European indoor venues that we operate demonstrate further growth in average per-fan revenue. As we provide more elevated hospitality options for fans, we have launched Vibey, which hosts destination events centered around live music, and launched this week with the sale of the U2 Sphere VIP packages selling out. We've also continued building our VenuNation portfolio, with new venues expected to host nearly 3 million fans at 1,000 shows this year, driving long-term growth and profitability across all our businesses. Our ticketing business benefits from the same structural tailwind as concerts, with further growth driven by our success in adding new clients, notably in international markets. As a result, we sold 73 million fee-bearing tickets in the first quarter, up 40%, and delivered $7.7 billion in fee-bearing GTV, up 60%. We are seeing growth in both volume and pricing across our global markets. This holds true across all event types, from sports to concerts, from biggest superstars to new artists. Our brand partners recognize the passion for live music has never been greater, and Alive Nation provides a unique on-site and online platform to connect with fans in meaningful ways on a global scale. And in the first quarter, we continued adding partners for 2023 and beyond, including Google Pixel, PayPal, and Levi's. With this, we have commitments for over 80% of our planned sponsorship of the year. Equally important, fans are embracing the value brands can provide to the concert experience, with over 70% of live music goers agreeing that brands can enhance their time at the show. Our team is the best in the industry at working with brands to develop programs that deliver value to fans, which in turn grows our brand relationships and attracts new ones. Our results for the first quarter demonstrate the success of our strategy and sets up for a strong growth in 2023. We expect to host a record number of fans this year, even against the 2022 comparison, which benefited from rescheduled shows attended by 20 million fans. Ticketmaster should deliver record activity, with around 600 million tickets managed globally this year. And our sponsorship business, even after incredible growth last year, looks to be on track for double-digit AOI growth this year. As we look to 2024 and beyond, we have all the necessary levers to build our flywheel globally and continue to compound AOI by double digits for the foreseeable future. With that, I will turn the call over to Joe to take you through more details.
spk12: Thanks, Michael, and good afternoon, everyone. Building on 2022, we started out this year with a record Q1, our highest first quarter revenue, AOI, fan count, and ticket sales. All of our markets are fully open, selling tickets, hosting tours, and connecting brands with fans. Our reported revenue of $3.1 billion for the quarter was $1.3 billion better than Q1 2022, an increase of 73%. On a constant currency basis, our revenue was $3.2 billion for the quarter, so there was roughly a 2% unfavorable impact due to the slight strengthening of the US dollar, primarily against the Canadian and Australian dollars. Given the limited FX impact on our numbers, The rest of my comments will just be a reported currency. Our reported AOI of $320 million for the quarter was $111 million better than 2022, up 53%, with an improvement of $65 million in ticketing, $50 million in concerts, and $26 million in sponsorship. Over half of our AOI growth came from our Asia Pacific and Latin America markets, where we are expanding our global touring activity and diversifying our historical seasonality. We converted roughly 59% of this AOI to adjust the free cash flow of $190 million, which is significantly higher than our 43% conversion in Q1 2022. In our deferred revenue, a key leading indicator of growth ended this quarter at $4.4 billion, up 28% from this point last year. Let me give a bit more color on each division. First, in concerts, we had the highest concert attendance ever for a Q1 with 19.5 million fans attending our shows of 79% compared to 2022 when we had approximately 11 million fans. Show count was 9,600 events, up 43% compared to 2022, with more fans per show due to a heavier mix of stadium and arena events and stronger than historical average attendance levels. As a result, our concert's revenue for the year grew by 89% to $2.3 billion, while we delivered $1 million in AOI, a $50 million improvement over Q1 2022. This is the beginning of what we see as a very solid year for our concert segment, including margin expansion relative to last year. Looking a bit deeper at our fan metrics, we had strong growth across the board. Stadium attendance more than quadrupled to 3.3 million fans this quarter, up from 800,000 fans in 2022. This growth primarily came from our Asia Pacific and Latin American markets. Arena attendance was 6.7 million fans for the quarter, up 3 million, or almost 80% from 2022, largely as a result of growth in Europe and Australia touring. Theater and fan club count was up 45%, and while it's not a large quarter for festivals, we did see festival fan count grow by 50% from our Mexico and Australia and New Zealand expansion. Overall, our international markets drove fan count growth, accounting for over 90% of our increase versus 2022. This was due in part to the closure still in effect in Q1 2022, That said, we expect continued strength across all global markets through 2023, along with some seasonal shift toward Q1 activity. Last year, we discussed the various cost headwinds at our operated venues and festivals. Thus far this year, cost pressures are declining, and our operational cost per fan is down across our indoor buildings, and we are forecasting that cost increases will remain below general inflation levels for our festivals and amphitheaters. As a result of these improved conditions, we expect overall profitability per fan will again increase this year as cost increases are more than mitigated by increasing average revenue per fan, pricing, and on-site sponsorship. Next, in ticketing, where our numbers reflect growing fan demand for live experiences. In Q1 2023, we sold 72.6 million fee-bearing tickets, up 21 million tickets, or 41 percent compared to 2022. Nearly two-thirds of the growth was driven by concert tickets, as North America concert ticket sales increased by 35 percent, while international concert ticket sales increased even more by 65 percent. With this increased ticket volume, GTV for the quarter was $7.7 billion, up 60 percent compared to 2022. At peak sales times during the quarter, Ticketmaster sold 15,000 tickets per minute in North America, with more than 20 million fee-bearing tickets sold each month globally. And in Q1, over 99.9% of all TM transactions were processed without any issues. While secondary ticketing volume grew at a similar rate, ours continues to be largely a primary ticketing business, with secondary ticketing accounting for only a mid-teens percent of our overall GTV. With these growing ticket sales, revenue for the quarter was $678 million and AOI was $271 million, delivering margin of 40%. It's hard to compare these margins to Q1 of last year, given the geographic mixed shift and increased cost of ramping our staff back up over the course of last year. But these margins are ahead of our full year 2022 numbers. and we expect margins for the full year to continue being in the high 30s. On the pricing front, average ticket prices on primary tickets rose by 16% compared to Q1 of 2022, driven by fan demand for the best seats, particularly at concerts. Average secondary ticket prices remain close to double that of a primary ticket, continuing to show the extent to which concerts and other live events remain priced below market value. We also saw revenue from non-service fees grow double digits as we further build ancillary revenue streams, including insurance upgrades and other upsells. Lastly, so far this year, we have signed clients accounting for nearly 8 million net new tickets, up 15% compared to this point last year, positioning us for ongoing growth. Finally, in our sponsorship business, top-line revenue improved by $54 million, or 47%. to $170 million in Q1. Our AOI for this high-margin business was $96 million, up 37%. Sponsorship's growth during the quarter was driven by the reopening of international markets that were closed in Q1 of last year, the increase in high-profile artists on sales that attract premium marketing partners, and the expansion of our venue network. We had double-digit growth in both on-site and online sponsorship, with on-site sponsorship representing most of our AOI growth year over year. From a geographic perspective, our international markets delivered 54 percent growth in the quarter, while North America had 26 percent growth. Contributing to our sustained growth since last year has been our strategic sponsors that generate over $1 million of revenue in a year. Relative to Q1 of last year, our number of strategic sponsors grew by 15%, while the revenue from those partners rose by over 20%. These marketing partnerships now account for 85% of our total sponsorship revenues. Sponsorship margins were slightly lower than average during the quarter as we had higher variable expenses due to artist activation costs for A-list talent pre-sales, with tickets sold for these key sponsor programs four times that of last year. As timing plays out, we anticipate that for the full year, variable expenses and margins will be in line with 2022. A few other points on 2023. We continue to project that CapEx will be approximately $450 million this year, with two-thirds on revenue-generating projects, including new venue builds and renewals, as well as other organic investments to support growth. The remaining one-third is on maintenance gap access. We catch up on deferred 2020 and 2021 maintenance. We ended the quarter with $2.4 billion of available liquidity between free cash and untapped revolver capacity, giving us ample flexibility to continue investing in growth. We're comfortable with our leverage, particularly given the AOI growth ahead with approximately 87% of our debt, at a fixed rate with an average cost of debt of roughly 4.7%. In addition, the majority of our debt is long dated and nothing is maturing within the next 18 months. The only notable change to our below the line guidance from Q1 is on accretion. Due largely to assesses impressive growth above previous projections, we estimate that accretion will be approximately 40% higher in 2022 and this should be factored into your EPS estimates. At this point, we don't expect any material FX impact on revenue or AOI for the year. With that, let me open the call for questions. Operator?
spk04: Thank you, sir. We will now be conducting a question and answer session. If you would like to ask a question, please press star 1 on your telephone keypad. A confirmation tone will indicate that your line is in the queue. You may press star 2 if you would like to remove your question from the queue. And for participants using speaker equipment, it may be necessary to pick up your handset before pressing the star keys. One moment, please, while we poll for questions. And the first question comes from the line of David Karnofsky with JP Morgan. Please proceed with your question.
spk06: Hey, thank you. Michael, Joe, you know, we've seen a couple bills introduced in Congress to address ticketing practices and contracts. wondering first how you think some of these items might impact your business, assuming they were fully enforced, and then just based on meetings you've had, do you think these bills largely meet the primary concerns of lawmakers as you've come to understand them?
spk09: Yeah, thanks. Yeah, we're kind of watching what's going on, and we believe that through all of the noise, most people are ending up in the industry and politics at exactly where we are in the principles of what the FAIR Act is. So whether it's all in pricing, cleaning up deceptive practices, in the secondary, giving artists more tools, those seem to be all the common themes coming out in all of these different bills, which we're fully supportive of and have in our own bill, the FAIR Act. We know Senator Cartwell and Cruz introduced theirs. We know Neva's got a bill coming, Senator Klobuchar and Corrin. These are all in the same vein and the same thematic around helping the artist control their ticket and get them in the hands of the fans and be a way of some of the practices on the secondary, the spec selling, deceptive websites, hopefully better protection on bots. And we've always supported all in pricing. So this is not LN versus any of these. We are aligned to all of these bills. We think all of these bills we've said continually for a long time is better for our business because it helps us deliver a better on-sale and fan experience. So right now, it's the Wild West. We're doing our best, but any bills of these natures that start putting some better regulations and controls around the experience is going to help our overall business.
spk06: Okay. I was hoping you could expand a bit more on VIBE. Maybe can you frame the opportunities for this? Is this something you plan to build primarily for your major festivals and residencies? Or is this, you know, is there a wider opportunity across your promotional footprint? And then just interested, what drove the decision to kind of build this out internally versus, you know, maybe putting that out to bid for an events partner?
spk09: Yeah, we look at the segment overall. If you look at what we've been talking about on our investor days the last few years, you know, the premium business is a huge opportunity for us. I think I've said many times, this is an industry that has done a great job of being scale GA, but not done a great job of doing a premium experience for customers. The sports and new arenas and stadiums are doing a great job on that. But as an industry, Live Nation and the music industry has not done that. And we think there's a great opportunity overall to launch more products and services that can provide a better premium experience for the customer. So This would just be an extension and a continual strategy towards what we call the premium experience. We've got a company called VIP Nation. We'll do about a thousand of those events this year. Those are based around the concert and the tour and going to a sound check or early experience or meet and greet. So we've been the leader in that space and expanding that. Ticketmaster has launched Ticketmaster Travel, looking at ways we can put both the ticket and an airline or hotel together. take advantage of that scale. We've been testing that in the UK with great success. And Bybee is another product where we looked at pollen and we looked at on location and CID and Quince and others that were doing it. The difference is we have the scale. So we already have been doing it. We have the expertise. So we looked at our Insomniac team and built out Bybee, launched it with the U2 experience, sold out close to $20 million in ticket sales around a high-end premium experience. So We have the in-house expertise, and this is another product in our ongoing strategy, whether it's clubs, premium memberships, premium clubs, subscriptions, all the ways we're going to continue to look to say, how do we turn the GA into a premium experience product? I know there's also the challenge that some of these other companies have is the expensive part about doing this is the right, and we don't have that problem. So when you're chasing the the Olympic rights or you're chasing a business for a premium, it's a little harder unless you're in-house. So I'm sure On Location does fabulous with their UFC experiences. Similar to us, we don't have to pay rights. These are our rights. So we can do it in-house. We don't have to outsource it and split any of that upside with anyone else but our own businesses.
spk04: And the next question comes from the line of Brandon Ross with LightShed Partners. Please proceed with your question.
spk11: Hey, guys. Thanks for taking the questions. One on your fundamentals and then a follow-up to David's question on the bills in Congress. Actually, I'll start with that one. I think the Klobuchar bill very specifically attacks your venue exclusivity. Can you kind of just respond to that bill and how important is the venue exclusivity model to you in North America. And then kind of on the fundamental, last year was obviously a pretty depressed year in terms of concert margins. I know you hate the word margins, Joe, but we'll go with it anyway. Should we see a real bounce back in that and continuing kind of from 2030 and beyond into future years? Thanks.
spk12: Thanks, Brandon. First of all, on the exclusivity point, I think the first point I should make is congratulations on the birth of your daughter. Glad to hear everybody's doing that.
spk11: Thank you.
spk12: But to the exclusivity point, I always start with these are the venue's rights, and the venues have been figuring out over time how do they best monetize certain rights they have. What they have determined is the best way to monetize those rights in the U.S., is by auctioning them off for exclusivity. So I think it's, frankly, primarily were there to be any changes in exclusivity, it's the venues that would be hurt the most because they would lose the ability to fully maximize their rights. We're very confident with the quality of our systems, its ability to handle on sales in a way that no other system can do has been shown both by the clients that we've been adding as well as You've seen in the press issues that other systems have with very modest on-sales. So we're very confident in our ability to deliver. I think it's uncertain any bill in today's Congress, not just this one, but any bill that doesn't have bipartisan support out of the gate has its challenges. But more fundamentally, I think that you'd see the venues respond to that and probably push back. because they would be hurt a lot more than we would. In terms of the performance of the business, I tried to give a lot of details in there. I think that, as you know, first of all, we look more at the cash profitability of the business, where that is, how that's operating on a per-fan basis, which, as I said, we expect to continue to grow this year. I also noted, I think, in the concert side, the last year was a bottom tick in terms of our margins. We expect it to be coming back this year. We don't obsess over margins because, for instance, this year we expect to be having a great stadium and arena year, as you can tell by the numbers we already gave for Q1. That's inherently going to be a lower margin business than one of our amphitheater customers. We're still going to pursue that business. It's still a great business, but it impacts technically the margin while generating cash profitability. So, I think that we're on an upward trajectory. I think 23 is going to be great, and every very early sign we have for 24 is continued success.
spk11: Just one quick follow-up to that comment. I think there's concern about lapping the supply side for next year. Do you feel good about the supply side coming out of 22 and 23? I know you get asked this question every year as things grow, but... Do you feel confident with what you're seeing so far? And that's all.
spk09: Yeah. Yeah. We feel, as you know, yes, we live this in the, I think the fall was all about the air pocket and would there be enough shows in 23. So hopefully we put that to bed. Yeah. We don't think this has anything to do with pent up demand or COVID rescheduling. That stuff has long been flushed out in 22. This is all about regular business back to business. And I think we're thrilled that we're sitting here looking at a comparable last year that basically had almost a year and a half combined into a year because of all those rescheduled shows of 20 million. To be sitting here today above and beyond last year's numbers shows the global strength of the business, and it also shows the global strength of the business from the amphitheater to the stadium to the club to the festival. We're looking at all territories around the world firing on all cylinders. We're looking at the kind of talent you see on the road right now. This isn't just the Rolling Stones, right, that question we always have to fight off. Six of the top ten artists were younger artists. You look at Lollapalooza, Coachella with Bad Bunny, Karol G, Rosalina, you know, the Blackpink, the BTSs, Billie Eilish. I mean, there's just a host of great new talent every year coming up, filling the pipe that, you know, we didn't know Luke Combs was going to be selling stadiums out this year two years ago. We had no idea Bad Bunny was going to be the largest selling artist last year. So we just continue to see the supply to man we think for the future is really, really strong. There's more and more artists sitting in the studio right now on TikTok. The creator economy is alive and well, and they all want to be the next Bad Bunny. And we said it before, we're also seeing this encouraging new supply strategy where For many years, it was all about a U.S. or U.K.-based artist that filled the charts and filled the stadiums, and most other talent was domestic. It might have been big in Canada. It might have been big in Korea, but it didn't travel. This is the real breakout year where the world and the consumer are truly global, and now you can see artists coming from Latin America and Korea and becoming global superstars. That didn't happen for the last 30 years. It was a very top U.S. or U.K.-controlled industries. So we think that alone gives the next kick to the supply chain for the next 10 years of young talent. It'll be from India, South Africa. It's going to be everywhere overnight, finding their way to TikTok and Spotify and other places to become these global stars that are selling arenas and stadiums out in their markets.
spk04: Thank you. And the next question comes from the line of Steven Lasacek with Goldman Sachs. Please proceed with your question.
spk01: Hey, great, thank you. Maybe from Michael on underlying concert demand, setting aside the stadium and arena tours for the moment, could you maybe talk about how demand for the average or even smaller amphitheater or club show is trending compared to what we saw for those types of shows last year? I think there's some concern that maybe the top shows are performing well this year, but it's perhaps coming at the expense of some of the smaller ones. So we'd just love to hear your thoughts on how those smaller and average-sized shows are performing.
spk12: Yeah, Stephen, absolutely.
spk01: Yeah, sure.
spk12: Just to give you the feel on that, we don't have a lot of amphitheaters yet, just in the first quarter. But if you look at our theaters and clubs, which tend to be pretty strong this point of the year, they're tracking around 8% ahead in terms of average attendance per show. We're doing that with also increased pricing, lower cost structure on a per-fan basis. So those shows are performing very well for us.
spk09: And just to jump on Joe there, you know, unlike, you know, the movie theater kind of model, we're not a hit-driven industry, right? We are a truly scale business. And you're right. We looked at, you know, the Beyonce's of the world are always going to do the great numbers. But when you're sitting here today looking at even our festivals, the Lollapalooza's are the easy ones. But we have over 200 festivals, Bonnaroo's to one-day festivals in smaller markets to our U.S. and international businesses, and all of it seems to be doing really, really well. So whether it's a middle-of-the-road festival in a smaller market, whether it's a club act, at all levels there seems to be incredible demand and on a global basis. So we haven't seen just the top stuff selling and they're not coming to the other stuff. The demand seems to be uniform from clubs to stadiums, from Pittsburgh to Milan.
spk01: Great, thanks for that. And then maybe just one on the venues business. You called out in the press release, I think you expect to host 3 million incremental fans at new Live Nation venues this year. I'm curious maybe for Joe, as you look at your ambitions on the venue side, how many incremental fans or shows you think you can add to the flywheel over the next couple of years, maybe just given how the venue pipeline stands today?
spk12: Yeah, I think this year would be typical in what we would hope to add you know, in the low millions per year from our own venues with a mix of some new amphitheaters, new arenas at the larger end while continuing to build out the club and theater portfolio. So it continues to be a meaningful part of it and more robust. As I said earlier, you can scale the stadiums and arenas faster. But over time, we've learned we can deliver a very accretive return for our shareholders. by operating it and being able to count the beer money and the sponsorship money as well.
spk09: And I think we laid that out in our November investor day, probably on a more macro level. You know, we, we wanted to remind investors, we've been doing this for a long time. We have a large venue portfolio. We don't see that strategy changing. It's not, it's not incrementally different than it's been year after year. We bolt on and continue to look around the world at, opportunist markets where there's a great return, and we keep adding a venue, club, theater, an arena if we can find the right market like Austin where it's a big return. So we'll continue that strategy over time, and I think we laid out in November a cleaner in terms of how many and what numbers we look to subscribe to over time.
spk04: And the next question comes from the line of Jason Bazinet with Citi. Please proceed with your question.
spk07: I just had a question about your cash balance. It seems like you guys used to run, I don't know, half a billion dollars or something, and it's been four times that or something over the last year. Do you just think that in the spirit of being cautious that it just makes sense to have more cash on hand, or do you think there's some flexibility to deploy it in one way or another?
spk12: Yeah, I think just to make sure you have the cash numbers right, I think those cash numbers included untapped revolver capacity, right? So from that metric, it's probably not quite that extreme. But we continue to see a very strong set of opportunities to continue growing the business. We just talked about the venue business, which we've been in, but we think on a global basis has a lot of great opportunities to continue to build out the portfolio. And we think even within our existing portfolio, there's a lot of things that we can do to enhance the fan experience, as Michael was talking about. So at the moment, we're maybe being a little conservative coming out of COVID, but looking to continue to grow the business, and we'll continue to reassess it and see what the right options are.
spk07: Can I just ask one follow-up? One of the more interesting things to me, Looking at your stock prices, it seems so depressed relative to the fundamentals you guys have been putting up for the last year or so. Part of the DOJ-related, part of it, you know, fears of sort of COVID pent-up demand. But I was just surprised you guys didn't sort of take advantage of that seeming disconnect with share repurchases.
spk12: I think the flip side of share repurchases tactically is one thing. I think we've also seen a lot of companies out there that embark on share repurchases, and the market takes that as a signal that they are out of growth ideas. And I think that we have such a robust set of growth ideas that we wouldn't want that to be misunderstood. Secondly, when you invest in growth, you deliver compounded returns over time. You can maybe get an attractive return from a stock if you think there's a dislocation, but you lose out on the creative compounding impact that you can have by investing in these growth opportunities. As I said, I think we'll continue to look at all the options as we move forward, but I think an immediacy of coming out of it. That's been our thought process.
spk04: And the next question comes from the line of Stephen Glegola with TD Cowan. Please proceed with your question.
spk10: Thanks for the question, Michael and Joe. I have two specific questions around the proposed legislation and how that could potentially impact your business. So one on the prohibition of ticketing exclusivity with venues. You just provide, like, you know, I guess, you know, your color on the competitive position of Ticketmaster in international markets that you operate on an allocation or non-exclusive model, just to kind of glean insights on how, you know, the U.S. could be from that, like, you know, how renewals are trending there and new business there, one. And then, two, on this Junk Fee Protection Act, I believe there's a provision that the FTC can determine if mandatory ticketing fees are excessive. So I just wanted to know, how would fee caps –
spk09: impact your service fee revenue would that impact more than what the venue collects or what the primary ticketing service uh collects as well thank you i think you need to you need to go listen to bob leffitt's interview it'll help you um listen the venue drives as joe said this is the venue business i know everyone wants to subscribe to us the venue demand demands most of the service fee and kind of does the auction for the ticket so Again, we think that the venue that's building the billion-dollar arena or the multi-billion-dollar stadium in that market, I think he's going to continually be pretty strong and vocal about his rights and returns on what companies he can hire exclusively or not to service his business. So whether it's Microsoft or CRM or Salesforce or Or Ticketmaster, I think they're going to look at all their options for their best return for their business. So we look at that from that perspective. And we look at Europe just because it was always thrown out really lightly that international is an allocation and the U.S. is here. Just kind of for the trend, international is moving more towards an exclusive model than away from it. As new buildings are being built over there and you're building your arena, which really had been underdeveloped. It was mostly a soccer business or football. But as the new buildings are getting built, they are looking over here and realizing that this is another revenue stream that they should be leveraging. So I look at international probably moving closer to the U.S. model than the U.S. model moving to the international model because I think they're now realizing that they've been undervaluing their exclusive ticketing rights for their venues. Now, we do really well over there because we always will do well in an open market with the best technology. We sell more tickets than the competitor. So if you're an open allocated market and you're going to allocate to us and others, we're going to do really, really well because we're going to be the one that probably sells the most tickets for you. So you'll end up allocating more to us. But we don't think that model probably ends up here. More driven by the venue agenda than the ticketing agenda.
spk04: And the next question comes from the line of David Katz with Jefferies. Please proceed with your question. Hi.
spk08: Good evening, everyone. Thanks for including me. You covered a lot, but I was hoping you could just talk about the secondary ticketing market, which seems to be, you know, an area of growth for, you know, new smaller entities, other, you know, approaches, technologies, et cetera. And I know you've talked about in the past how, you know, you know, what their impact is on the market. You know, what's new with respect to that? What can you do about it to protect yourselves better? And, you know, I'd just love an update there, please, if you could.
spk09: I'll jump in, and Joe will. I just want to remind, you know, we said earlier, of all the legislative noise we've been swirling around for six months, the common theme in all of this legislation that you're seeing come forward is around limiting and putting some handcuffs around the scalper and the business. So we do see a lot of this legislation moving forward is going to help the primary ticket, the content holder, do a better job on that front. And it'll be harder for the scalper, the bot, deceptive websites, spec selling, a lot of the practices, drip selling, et cetera. So we do think that overall this market right now legislatively is moving against the secondary business in general. Not going to ban it, not going to cap it, but some of the cleanup legislation does help primary hurt secondary. That's a big move that hasn't happened in the last 10, 15 years.
spk12: Yeah, I think the other piece is you have to remember that secondary for sports is very different than secondary in concert. Secondary in sports is often used as a distribution platform for where you sell the season ticket to the scalpers, they just aggregate it and they're performing a function for the sports teams of guaranteeing them some upfront funding that has value to the teams, the value to the fans. You don't have that in concerts. The concerts, the issue is that they're using illegal and deceptive practices to get tickets with the sole objective of increasing the price and selling them to the fans. So I think what you're seeing is, Because the artists don't have the same sort of collective central power that a league does today that can set up an NFL ticket exchange, you need to give the power back to the artists so it's very clear that they can be the decision maker. Then it becomes the onus of the secondary players to figure out how they're adding value. It's like any other business today. You have to survive and adapt and grow because you're adding value to others in your ecosystem. That hasn't been what's how the scalpers have done it in music over the past several years. And it's finally gotten to the point where you're getting the pushback now from the artists, and that's being fully understood by our politicians.
spk08: Thank you. And to say nice quarter would be understating, you know, beating by $100 million. Thank you.
spk04: Thanks. And the next question comes from the line of Ben Swinburne with Morgan Stanley. Please proceed with your question.
spk05: Thanks. Good afternoon. Two questions. Michael, you also mentioned, I think, in your prepared remarks that the secondary prices are running about 2x primary. Last year, I think it was last year, sort of that Bruce Springsteen moment about market pricing, expectations that more artists would embrace that. I was wondering if you could just sort of update us today on sort of the trend in market pricing on primary and sort of pricing you know, back of house, front of house the right way, and where you feel the industry is and the business is today. And then secondly, you guys are always thinking pretty far ahead around technology. What are your thoughts on AI as an opportunity for Live Nation, just broadly? It's obviously a huge topic these days, so we'd love to hear what you think.
spk09: Perfect. On pricing, you know, I think we've been saying it for the last few years, the The great transparency and sunlight of secondary has really helped the artist and the management team look at their pricing models. Historically, it was a fairly static pricing, three different maybe price points, same price point all across the country. It didn't matter if it was a Friday in New York or a Tuesday in Pittsburgh. So the business has gotten really, really sophisticated with our price master, our different dynamic models that artists can now use. So we see that they're still years away between where the artist markets the price and what the market's willing to pay. The artist is one of the few products in the world that's worth more the minute it's sold, but they do that for their brand and accessibility, and I think that'll continue. But I do think we've seen the artists looking at their ticket price and the whole manifest and how do we bring the prices down in the back bring the prices up in the front so we can sell out and make sure everyone gets a ticket at an affordable price. But let's not let secondary run away with the front row. So we think that we're still dramatically underpriced versus demand. And you see that every day on the secondary. And we think that's probably going to live for the next five to 10 years as the artist moves closer to market, probably never gets to market. But between here and where they feel comfortable, we think there's years of upside there. that they'll continue to look at. AI Joe, you can talk about the TM.
spk12: Yeah. Yeah. I think on AI, just to be clear, I think it's all upside for us. There's no concern that somehow AI can ever replace the live experience for us. It's a, I consider it an infrastructure tool for both efficiency and effectiveness. So you think about using AI on recommendations, much better marketing, much better individual recommendation in terms of making you aware of shows that you might want to go to. Clearly, we're using machine learning now to help inform models on suggesting pricing that we were just talking about. AI is just the same thing. It's the next level of data input through that machine learning process. It'll help us automate a lot of tools. The event creation process that takes place at every venue, being able to use much better data machine learning, whatever, what's going on elsewhere in the TM system will make that more efficient. A lot, all the chat bots that you have today, those will go to a whole nother level of effectiveness working with fans and, and be a much lower cost than you have today. And then as, as we're fighting bots using AI to continue in our battles to make sure we know who's a person or try to know who's a person versus who's not. So. It kind of runs throughout all of our infrastructure. It's a lot of places that we're using machine learning today. AI is really that to the next level.
spk05: Thank you, Joe. Very helpful.
spk04: And the next question comes from the line of John Healy with North Coast Research. Please proceed with your question.
spk03: Yeah, thank you for squeezing me in. I just wanted to ask a question on kind of the pace of growth. I mean, when we look at deferred revenue, I think it's up, almost 30%. You talked about the concert ticket sales at this point up 20%. Any help that you could give us just on if you think that type of pace of growth can be sustained this year? I think the message is clear. It's going to be a strong year, but we'd just love to get a little color and flavor about kind of the speed at which you could grow this year.
spk12: Yeah, I think that you generally start the year coming out of the gate fastest when you're led by stadiums and arenas. So those are the shows that we've long talked about get put on sale earliest relative to the show date. So you've got great scalability in the stadiums, which are seeing four times the level of activity, good scalability in your arenas. So that's driving success. your huge increase in attendance, strong increase in ticket sales at $90 million in your deferred revenue. I think as you get into more of the shows that take place in our buildings across the festivals, amphitheaters to some extent, theaters and clubs, you generally have a lower level of scalability. You still have very solid growth, but not the same level as you have with your stadiums and arenas. So I don't think we're ready to try to declare an exact number, But I think we recognize the level you have in Q1 is probably going to be the high point of the year. Okay, that's great. And then just wanted to add.
spk09: And I think, sorry, I just want to jump on there for one sec, John. And just, you know, what's more important to us is just helping both sides realize what's the future in 24 on. You know, so we went through, obviously COVID was down and last year was an extraordinary year. So how does 23 and 24 start to look? And we're very optimistic. We look at this year as being a very strong year, coming off what people probably thought we couldn't beat last year. And we think 24 into forward, you kind of look at what we historically have delivered. We've been a high single industry growth business and a high single-digit revenue AOI business year after year for many years. And we look at going forward, we think we're back to being a great, strong growth business year over year. off this foundation of business. So we think the industry is back bigger than ever, and we think there's years of industry growth. We've shown you when the industry grows, we tend to do a rise with that tide and capture as much as industry growth. We tend to do a couple points better. So industry has been growing about 8% or 9% a year. We tend to beat it. We look at this as a long-term continual growth story again.
spk03: Great. And then just a big picture question I wanted to ask. I think you called out APAC and Latin America as fueling some growth to start the year. Just as you think about those businesses long term, is it safe to say that as they become a bigger piece of the pie, the margin level of the business should rise? I always thought those businesses had potential to be maybe higher margin than the U.S. market, but was just kind of curious how you're thinking about those as they sit today.
spk12: Yeah, I don't think we start with thinking about them as margin. We think about them as being massive growth potential markets, probably the least developed of our major markets. So having great growth opportunity to continue to drive more fans and more, obviously, highly profitable fans as we establish more venues in those markets, ensure that you can get some attractive margin opportunities. off the buildings or operate, but I think more than starting with any margin focus, we're looking at just what's the volume of fans and what's the overall concerts, ticketing, sponsorship, profitability. We can drive off that.
spk04: At this time, we have reached the end of the question and answer session, and I would like to turn the floor back over to Michael Rapinoe for any closing comments.
spk09: Appreciate it, everyone. Thank you. We'll talk to you in the summer.
spk04: Thank you, everyone. This does conclude today's teleconference. You may disconnect your lines at this time. Thank you for your participation, and have a great day.

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