Live Nation Reports Record Year Despite Q4 Loss

Strong year-long attendance as the world returned to a near-normal post-pandemic state and a robust touring market led to a record year for Live Nation despite a Q4 loss, the company reported in its year-end report, filed after market close Thursday.

LN reported Q4 revenue of nearly $4.3 billion, 48 percent higher than Q4 2019, the standard comparison in the wake of COVID. That counts as a beat for LYV; consensus expectation was $3.61 billion.

Twelve month revenue was nearly $16.7 billion. That’s up 45 percent against 2019.

As for the bottom line, Live Nation reported operating income loss of $120 million for the quarter, for a year-end figure of $732 million. Generally, LN highlights “adjusted operating income” in its reports, a non-GAAP measure that does not include depreciation of certain assets nor non-recoupable ticket sales advances.

For the year, Live Nation reported increases of at least 30 percent in all divisions, the main driver, of course, remained concert revenue, up 66 percent from 2021.

Live Nation says it staged more 43,000 concerts in 2022, drawing more than 121 million attendees worldwide. The company said every venue type from clubs all the way to stadiums had double-digit growth over 2019.

On-site per-ticket spending ended the year up 20 percent.

Gross transaction value for Ticketmaster ended at $28 billion, matching gains expected by significant GTV quarters in the last year.

Looking forward, deferred revenue at year’s end was $2.7 billion, up 125 percent from 2019 and up 18 percent from 2021, when that figure benefited from a significant number of rescheduled shows. Ticket sales for 2023 shows are beyond the 50 million mark, up 20 percent from the same point in 2022. Fee-bearing GTV is up 33 percent. All are leadind indicators for LN, which predicts continued growth.

The earnings report did acknowledge an increasingly uncertain regulatory environment, as politicians make hay in the wake of the Taylor Swift on-sale debacle. The company emphasized that its market share in the ticketing space has decreased since the merger and that it does not believe it is in violation of the extended consent decree with the Department of Justice.

In addition, Live Nation began its campaign of support for the FAIR Ticketing Act which calls for reforms in the resale market and all-in pricing.