LN Acquires Musictoday

Live Nation has acquired a majority stake in artist and fan club portal Musictoday, both companies announced July 31st. Musictoday, founded in 2000 by Dave Matthews Band manager Coran Capshaw, rang up more than $100 million in gross sales last year.

Capshaw created the company in order to facilitate services between his artists and their fans, and has already grown to include close to 500 client artists. According to a joint statement announcing the deal, Capshaw will continue to operate the company. Additional details weren’t made available.

The deal marks the fourth high-profile acquisition by Live Nation in recent weeks: The company purchased controlling interest in Michael Cohl’s Concert Productions International in May, acquired House of Blues Entertainment in early July, and picked up high-end rock merchandiser Trunk Ltd. two weeks later.

With the majority stake in Musictoday, LN obtains an established Web home from which to directly sell tickets and merch for the artists it books into its venues.

Arguably the most attractive feature of Musictoday fan clubs is the access to Internet ticket presales to members who pay from $20 to $40 per year for the privilege.

Such fan clubs customarily receive ticket allotments from venues to sell to the most hardcore fans – and such allotments can range from the customary 10 percent at Ticketmaster-exclusive venues to 50 percent and more of the house elsewhere.

With the acquisition of a major piece of the alternative ticketing market, LN certainly strengthens its position for renewal talks with Ticketmaster when their current agreement expires in 2008.

“Our mission is to build larger and more passionate communities of fans around our artist clients,” Capshaw said in a statement. “Partnering with Live Nation will allow us to provide the artist with a full suite of services related to the live experience.

“We are now in the unique position to create opportunities for artist-fan interaction both online through our platforms and offline at venues, taking fan communities beyond the virtual world to the places where artists and fans converge. Together we will offer artists unparalleled marketing reach while championing new and innovative products for their fans.”

Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino added, “As the global leader in concert ticket sales, our investment in Musictoday will enable us to access additional revenue streams centered around the live concert experience including artist merchandise web stores, fan clubs and ticketing. This further adds complementary product lines to our core live music and venue divisions.”

Musictoday employs more than 200 personnel and is headquartered in Charlottesville, Va.