Live Nation Wants Artists to Take Pay Cuts, Cancellation Risk for 2021 Festivals

Live Nation Wants Artists to Take Pay Cuts, Cancellation Risk for 2021 Festivals
While it's still difficult to imagine a full-scale return of live music in the near future, Live Nation is aiming to bring different concert-going options, with the goal of a full reopening in the fall of 2021. Now, it's been revealed that the world's largest concert promotion conglomerate will be changing policies surrounding artist payment, cancellations and more.

Rolling Stone has published a memo the company sent to talent agencies, which points to "certain changes to our agreements with the artists" due to "unprecedented times."

Those words preface the company's plan to shift financial burdens to artists. Live Nation seeks to adjust artist guarantees "downward 20% from 2020 levels." Should an event be cancelled due to poor sales, the company states that "the artist will receive 25% of the guarantee" instead of the full amount.

The memo also addresses cancellations by an artist, stating, "If an artist cancels its performance in breach of the agreement, the artist will pay the promoter two times the artist's fee." Billboard notes that this bit of policy is unheard of in the live music industry.

Rolling Stone cites a source that tells the publication some of the terms in the memo were standard parts of existing concert contracts prior to the pandemic, and that the new aspects are part of broader negotiations with the music industry to navigate the live music landscape.

Also found in the memo are stipulations on airfare and accommodations ("These expenses will be the responsibility of the artist"), streaming requirements, radius clause and more. You can read the complete text of the memo here.

Earning reports for Live Nation shared early last month showed revenues were down 20 percent year-on-year, concert revenue was down 25 percent (from $1.318 billion to $993.4 million), ticketing was down 16 percent and that fan attendance was down 6.2 percent.

In late April, Live Nation's ticketing arm, Ticketmaster, furloughed a quarter of its workforce. Days before, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia purchased a 5.7 percent stake in the entertainment giant.