Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the biggest question has been regarding when things can go back to normal. This is especially true of the live entertainment industry, as numerous concerts and festivals have been canceled. Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino has outlined the company’s plans to resume concerts and tours.
Rapino discussed many aspects of the current state of the business Thursday, May 7 during Live Nation’s first-quarter earnings call. He broke down the company’s revenue losses — which were already an issue before the pandemic started — how they will continue to operate throughout the remainder of the year with little or no events, modified contracts with artists and more.
You can read these specifics on Variety in detail, but we want to focus on what fans are curious about the most — when will there be concerts again?
“Our global diversity is our greatest strength, it always has been, and unlike sports, we have very diverse sizes of shows: We did 15,000 club and theater shows in 40 countries last year,” Rapino stated. “So over the next six months, we’ll be starting slow and small, focusing on the basics and testing regionally. But whether it’s in Arkansas or [another] state that is safe, secure and politically fine to proceed in, we’re going to dabble in fan-less concerts with broadcasts and reduced-capacity shows, because we can make the math work.”
The CEO’s mention of Arkansas refers to the “socially distant” concert that is set for May 15 in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and will feature a unique, experimental seating arrangement called “fan pods.”
Noting that plenty of artists who can sell out arenas will be willing to play smaller-scale shows, Rapino anticipates that there will be a resurgence in theater and club shows throughout the summer in countries that are more advanced in the recovery process. In addition, he mentioned “…drive-in concerts, which we’re going to test and roll out and we’re having some success with; or reduced-capacity festival concerts, which could be outdoors in a theater on a large stadium floor, where there’s enough room to be safe.”
Come fall, as long as a second wave of the virus doesn’t hit again, Rapino expects the markets that reopen to start holding more concerts, even in crowds of up to 5,000 or more people. Tickets for large-scale events that have been postponed until 2021 should also help the company’s revenue pick up again in the third and fourth quarter, allowing the company to operate at “full-scale.”
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, folks.