Same Old Story For LN

With the U.S. presidential election only four months away, the European media and live music business are starting to voice their opinions on the matter.

Those getting vocal and even "passionate" about supporting Democratic candidate Barack Obama include – according to U.S. agent Ted Kurland – all the promoters he met on his last trip to Europe.

The July 20 edition of the UK’s Independent On Sunday ran a piece that dragged up the old chestnut about Live Nation having supported George W. Bush and his Republicans, although – in common with earlier stories on the issue – some of the supporting evidence was open to question.

"This is not news, it’s editorial – I have no time for this," was LN chief Michael Rapino’s response to questions about the Independent story, apparently one of the few who’d rather not get vocal on the subject.

The article was little more than a rerun of similar earlier stories, most notably in the Danish press four years ago, although the U.S. papers where they originated no longer bother to run them.

For all its inaccuracies and tenuous arguments, the story still gets frequently wheeled out.

The article in The Independent looks early for the U.S. elections, especially as the Danish stories in 2004 came just days before the national parliament was to debate the rights and wrongs of supporting Bush over Iraq.

A couple of months later and just before he was due to stand for the Flemish parliament, left wing anti-globalist magazine Mo attacked Herman Schueremans for working for Clear Channel, although he’d always made it clear that he supported the Belgian government’s decision not to back Bush in Iraq.

Although Kurland’s office is in Boston, he was brought up in Illinois – where Obama is a senator – and is a founding member of the Northeast Steering Committee for the "Obama For America" campaign.

"It started at this year’s ILMC when I noticed that everyone I had a coffee or a drink with wanted to know what chances he has because, almost without exception, they want to support him in some way," Kurland told Pollstar.

"What really prompted my appeal, which gives Americans and others living abroad the opportunity to contribute to his funds, was when Tito Ramonda [head of Barcelona-based The Project] said he felt everyone should have a chance to vote in the U.S. elections because the result has so much impact on the rest of the world."

U.S. citizens living abroad can vote by absentee ballot and are legally qualified to make donations to the presidential campaign up to $2,300 per person, provided they’re at least 16 years old.

Kurland is firmly in the Obama camp, but second-guessing what, if anything, LN plans to do about party donations isn’t so clear.

A representative who joined Live Nation since the last round of stories about it appearing to cozy up to Bush said the company hasn’t made any political donations since being spun off from Clear Channel.