Live Nation Implements Changes That Will Include Cutting Artists’ Pay

Due to the economic climate’s downturn from COVID-19 the American events promoter Live Nation is cutting artists payouts and is putting pressure on the artist in unprecedented ways. Artists will now be given a lot more of financial responsibility and accountability. 

Live Nation was originally called SFX Entertainment and formed in 1996 by Robert F. X. Sillerman. The company has gone through a few different renditions but finally landed on Live Nation in 2005. Then in 2010, Live Nation ended up merged with the widely known ticketing company Ticketmaster and formed the larger conglomerate Live Nation Entertainment that we know today. 

One of the major changes Live Nation is embarking on is that now if a show is cancelled due to poor ticket sales the artist will now only receive 25% of a predetermined guarantee. Generally artists would always receive 100% of  predetermined guarantee before the pandemic according to the document acquired by Rolling Stone. The other major change Live Nation is enacting is that it will now require artists who cancel their performances due to illness, or any other reason in breach of contract, to pay out twice their artist’s fee which is unheard of. 

The Live Nation memo to talent agencies reads, “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.”

Live Nation stock since the COVID-19 pandemic started has experienced a 48% drop. The company has not only slashed artists pay but also enacted sweeping salary reductions, furloughs and hiring freezes in an attempt to keep the company afloat. 

“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,” The Live Nation memo to talent agencies writes. It is unclear what the follow out from these changes will exactly look like for the industry and artists. 

Read the full memo below:

Live Nation Memo to Talent Agencies

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.

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