Randy Phillips, President and CEO, LiveStyle

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The Disruptors

The executives behind the ideas that disrupt the industry in positive ways.

Randy Phillips
President and CEO, LiveStyle

Three years removed from SFX Entertainment’s bankruptcy filing and subsequent reemergence as LiveStyle, led by concert industry veteran and CEO Randy Phillips, the concert promoter holds thriving EDM properties including Made Event (New York’s Electric Zoo), React Presents (Chicago’s Spring Awakening), Disco Donnie Presents, Beatport, Life In Color and Los Angeles’ All My Friends.

“We are building new intellectual property in the company,” Phillips says of LiveStyle’s growth. “Instead of buying other companies that are profitable and working that profit into ours, we are doing it organically, internally with some of the assets we have.”  

Phillips’ approach is markedly different from predecessor Robert F.X. Sillerman, but the former AEG Live CEO said his style has always been to take a situation in crisis and turn it into a positive.

Phillips says LiveStyle and its property Made Event now have an unrivaled presence in New York’s electronic music scene, thanks to Electric Zoo’s growth and the ascent of Williamsburg venue Brooklyn Mirage, which he calls “the greatest venue for electronic music.”

“We built an asset that wasn’t earning any money,” Phillips says of Made Event. “We went from zero to very significant EBITDA from 2018 to now. We are 20 percent ahead in sales from last year.” 

LiveStyle also has 65 percent of the Dutch festival market, Phillips says, including Mysteryland and Awakenings. 

Another thriving LiveStyle property is Disco Donnie Presents, which put on April’s Ubbi Dubbi Festival in Fort Worth, Texas. 

Phillips says Ubbi Dubbi’s 40,000 attendees exceeded projections by 8,000 tickets. Disco Donnie also stages Houston’s Freaky Deaky festival, which broke even in its first year. 

“DDP makes money – and we’ve helped Donnie become a better businessman,” Phillips says. “One thing he does, he books so many shows a year that he is essential to the agents, artists and managers, in terms of completing tours and developing the artists. He is essential in electronic music, and because of that it gives the whole company a halo effect when we book.”

Hot Takes

Favorite Laminate:

My old Rolling Stones Tongue one, the only one that I ever kept.

Best/Worst Career Advice:

Spend your way out of hole. A promoter once told me that who is now out of business, and now I know why.

Biggest Miss By You And The Industry:

I caught up, but I think the industry missed the internet and streaming and the impact it was gonna have in the future. Marc Geiger was there very early, he was too early, but he saw the future more than most.

What Would You Tell Your Friends at the Labels:

Merge your marketing projects since we are promoting the same damn brand. Even when I had my own label, I never understood why touring and music marketing are like two different worlds other than when the label wants to be tickets to the show. It always amazed me that there isn’t more interaction between the promoter and label.

Where Does One Find You at a Show:

At the soundboard, always, unless there is a postseason playoff game.

Upcoming Artist Of  The Year:

I have to give a shoutout to the hottest new act selling tickets, Why Don’t We. That’s self-serving, they are my act, but they are ON FIRE. We sold out Radio City, Microsoft. They could go into arenas, but we’re waiting for 2020. I like their underplays, it’s gonna create demand. 

The two acts that aren’t mine that I think are going to shake the world in 2019 and 2020: Billie Eilish and Juice WRLD.

Pet Peeves:

I hate big egos. I hate when business decisions are made a loss because of ego. It doesn’t compute with me because I’m very pragmatic.

What Has Been The Most Impactful Tech Change:

Social media. Don’t ask me how, but I’ve become a millennial. I don’t know how it happened, but I’m a voyeur at heart, and also, I love the marketing reach.

Ten years removed from the great slump:

Of course it can happen, economics are always cyclical. Strap in your seatbelt and be prepared is my only advice.