Live Nation has had enough of the pandemic roller coster. After more than a year of empty arenas, the entertainment giant is taking matters into own hands and wiring over 60 venues for livestreaming, the company announced today.
The ambitious project is happening under the wing of Veeps, the livestreaming platform launched by Good Charlotte’s Benji and Joel Madden in 2017, which Live Nation acquired earlier this year—and now we know why.
“With the flip of a switch, every artist playing in these venues can make their show a global event,” says cofounder Joel Madden. “We’ve already seen how livestream shows drive engagement, and the added ticket revenue will allow them to make what they’re offering their fans even better.”
Veeps’s ticket proceeds earned over $10 million for artists in 2020, which funds not only performers but their bands and crews. The platform does not charge artists directly, instead adding a 15% fee to ticket sales.
First up for the new wiring project is the Wiltern Theater, the 1,850-seat Los Angeles landmark, which will begin livestreaming on May 7 with a lineup of shows from Breland, JP Saxe, Waterparks, LANY, Young Thug, Lucky Daye, Young M.A, Eyedress, Freddie Gibbs, and Chase Atlantic. (It looks like Live Nation’s many A-list artists are letting other performers work out the kinks.) Fans can buy $15 tickets for individual shows or series passes at thewilternseries.com.
Pre-pandemic, Live Nation was selling a half billion tickets a year. This all went to hell in March 2020, leading to revenue drops as high as 98%. Thus, the company’s decision to redefine “live” as, you know, um, live-ish.
This is potentially a brilliant business move, because not only will livestreaming repeatedly capture superfans who would happily spend an evening and $120-$600 on tickets, but it will increase access for fans whose towns and budgets do not align with tours. Perhaps more critically, it will reach the many (many) semi-fans who would not tromp through crowds to see Pink, but would totally pay $15-40 to project her onto their living room wall.
Other soon-to-be-livestreaming venues range from clubs to amphitheaters. They include House of Blues locations in Chicago and New Orleans; The Filmore venues in San Francisco and Philadelphia; The Gorge in George, Washington; and Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California. So far artists including Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Brandi Carlile have performed livestreams.