Concert promoter Live Nation yesterday announced what many musicians already know: fewer people are attending concerts. The company reported a first quarter loss of $102.7 million — on top of last year’s loss of $37.2 million. Undoubtedly the dismal economy contributed to the downturn in concert attendance, but there was already a trend favoring home entertainment over live entertainment. The closure of many venues and the elimination of live music (or at least the unwillingness of venues to pay musicians) has been growing, as I’ve reported before.
Live Nation’s losses are further evidence that this is not a good time to try to make it as a musician. 360 deals, slumping CD sales, consumers who think music should be free, and the closure of venues diminish what little income is available to musicians. The poor economy has only exacerbated what was already a dismal situation.
Live Nation plans to merge with Ticketmaster. Expect to see higher ticket fees as concert promoters struggle to cover their losses. None of those increases will be going to the musicians, though.