De Luca Denies Spilling The Beans

Live Nation’s Roberto de Luca said he’s not the person who divulged the artist fees published in a June 2nd article in the national daily La República, and claims journalist Carlo Moretti either got the numbers from another source or is guilty of some sloppy research.

He said some rival Italian promoters have assumed he’s the one who was indiscreet because all the fees quoted related to acts he’s promoted.

He also said the numbers – euro 450,000 for Depeche Mode, 300,000 for Pearl Jam and 150,000 for Bob Dylan – aren’t even correct.

“First of all, [the fees] are wrong. But, most importantly, they were not given by me but came from somebody else or they are coming from some wrong investigation done by the Italian journalist,” he explained in an e-mail to Pollstar.

“As you can easily check from the articles, I make comparisons of the ticket prices now and 10 years ago for artists that worked with my company at that time and now, stating that they are not three times higher as was reported by the journalist.

“I have never in my life discussed artists’ fees with journalists.”

De Luca said the only figures he quoted to the paper were the results of research he’d done to compare the percentage increases in a wide range of goods including cars, petrol, bread, milk and pasta – which came out highest – over a 10-year period. It showed ticket price rises were near the middle of a range of price hikes that went from 32 percent to 105 percent.

The June 2nd piece in La República, and another published June 13, have led to de Luca suing Mimmo D’Alessandro of D’Alessandro-Galli for libel, and caused a fuss that’s spread to the rest of the country’s live music business.

Milan-based De Luca started his legal action because, in a feature on ticket prices, D’Alessandro was quoted describing Clear Channel (now Live Nation) as “il cancro della musica in Italia” – or “the cancer of music in Italy.”

The Brescia-based promoter, who was given a month’s suspension from Assomusica – the Italian-based promoters’ organisation – doesn’t deny making the statement, but claims it came across badly because it was taken out of context.

Assomusica’s Roberto Meglioli has confirmed to Pollstar that D’Alessandro was suspended from the association, but that was rescinded when other promoters – including Claudio Trotta of Barley Arts – argued that it’s “a simple rule of freedom” to be able to express an opinion. It seems some of those who reached the original decision to suspend D’Alessandro weren’t aware that de Luca was already taking his own legal course.

Meglioli said the organization wouldn’t be taking further action because it now considers the case a private legal matter and therefore beyond its remit.

In light of that position, he also feels it wouldn’t be appropriate for Assomusica to make any comment.

The case is likely to be heard in the High Court in Rome early in the new year.

— John Gammon