Live Nation: PEST Analysis
Live Nation Entertainment, Inc, is a global live entertainment company offering four business segments: concerts, ticketing, sponsorship & advertising and artist management. The company has over 20,000 employees globally and operates in 41 different countries. Live Nation focuses on providing the artist and fan with memorable and meaningful live experiences they will remember for the rest of their lives (Music & Live Events | Concert Tickets, Tour News, Venues. (n.d.)).
A PEST analysis is a study conducted by businesses to evaluate the following external factors that can affect operations: political, economic, social and technological. Analyzing these factors will help Live Nation get a comprehensive understanding of the macro environmental factors that may positively or negatively affect the company’s strategic planning process (How a PEST Analysis Can Help with Strategic Planning. (n.d.). Strategies can then be implemented based on the results.
Political stability and importance of entertainment in a country’s economy. Governments need to do lots of things to encourage development – they need to build and maintain infrastructure, and raise and spend finance wisely, on the right projects. When governments are inept at managing infrastructure, development is impossible (Williams, J. 2017). Trade regulations, tariffs related to service, pricing regulations, wages and overtime are all political factors.
Perhaps the most significant political factor that can have a major effect on Live Nation is Brexit. Brexit is the impending withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU). The pound is weakening, and costs have risen for downloads and equipment which in turn will increase ticket prices. Touring artists will have to apply for visas and may be heavily taxed for importing goods out of the UK. (Baillie, K., 2017).
This could have two expensive, complex implications for touring bands: individual visas to enter each EU country, and the introduction of the carnet, a document detailing every single piece of equipment on deck, to prevent the import or export of products without paying VAT. It costs between £1000—£2000 (approximately $1400—$2900), and lasts just 12 months (Snapes, L., & Snapes, L. (2016).
An increase or decrease in tax is an example of a political element. The government might increase taxes for some companies and lower it for others and this has a direct effect on businesses. Government interventions like shifts in interest rate can also affect the demand patterns of company (Lamptey. 2016). When tax rates increase, ticket prices also increase, and sales can be affected. Some customers may not expect all the service charges added on when they purchase a ticket, and this may lead to the secondhand ticket market receiving more business.
Workplace rules and regulations need to be considered in any country. It’s essential to comply with all local laws and best practices regarding the suitability of employee working conditions; allow their workforce the freedom to leave their employment without the threat of deterrents and take steps to prevent the illegal treatment of their workforce by their management or any third party.
Anti-trust laws and ticketing taxes are a political factor. Live Nation and Ticketmaster have had several lawsuits over anti-trust laws in the last year. These lawsuits claim that Live Nation and Ticketmaster are manipulating the market and forcing customers to pay higher prices for tickets to suppress the competition. (Ticketmaster, Live Nation Slammed with Antitrust Class Action in NY As Bad Week Continues. (n.d.). Customers can lose trust and take their business elsewhere if these types of lawsuits continue to occur.
A global factor that affects the live music industry and the largest promoter of live music events, Live Nation, is the condition of the economy. Wages, unemployment, or inflation are all factors that can determine the success or failure of a live performance. If people are unemployed or wages are cut, they cannot spend the money on tickets. Workers at the venues Live Nation owns globally can be affected by an economic downturn including layoffs or closing venues. Inflation can result in new venues not being built or modernized due to a rise in the cost of materials for the production (Smells like middle-aged spirit. (2015, June 27). Exchange rates can affect business as well with a decline in sales and production.
The economy tends to follow a business cycle of economic highs followed by periods of lows. During high cycles, jobs tend to be plentiful, since companies need workers to keep up with demand. When unemployment is low, consumer spending tends to be high because most people have income to spend, which is good for businesses and helps drive growth (Hamel, G., 2016). Live Nation sees an increase in ticket sales during these times as people have the money to splurge on luxury items.
When unemployment is high, consumer spending tends to be low because unemployed people don’t have excess income to spend and Live Nation ticket sales tend to decrease as people cannot afford to attend expensive concerts. The live music industry is one that relies heavily on the ability of consumers to have discretionary funds available for spending. A company’s leadership can take notice of the economic highs and lows and use them to increase sponsorship, alter ticket prices or hold off on a market until the economy improves.
Demographics and culture are important social factors that are vital to Live Nation and their success in the global live music industry. Demographics are population identifiers such as age, sex, gender, education and income level. Festivals are growing in popularity with a younger audience, while indoor theater events appeal to an older audience. Looking at the demographics of a population can help Live Nation decide who to target with advertising and promotion to sell tickets at an event.
Culture is the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a social group. In music, there are various cultures such as punk rock, country and alternative music. The people in these groups identify with the music and the lifestyle and can also be targeted by advertising.
By considering these social factors, Live Nation can identify a target audience for a live event and use sponsorship and advertising to attract them on their leisure time to attend the event and purchase more items that they can identify with.
Technological factors are critical to the success of Live Nation. Paperless ticketing, mobile apps, social media are all ways that technology can increase profits at Live Nation and keep them in the forefront of the industry.
Paperless ticketing enables customers to purchase their ticket online with their credit card and then use the credit card used for purchase to get in the event. While this can be effective in slowing down the secondhand ticketing market, it also makes it hard for fans to transfer ownership. Facial recognition is a possibility that the company is looking into, and they already have bracelets that fans wear with their money loaded onto it, eliminating the need to bring cash.
Mobile apps have increased in popularity and Live Nation introduced their own app in 2012.The app has more than just browsing and buying concert tickets too. It offers search and discover, as well as alerts on pre-sales, on-sale deals, last minute tickets and exclusive app-only pre-sales. Live Nation even uses the customer’s GPS coordinates to find local shows, so recommendations can be sent. Live Nation aims to capitalize on its ability to know where and when an individual will be in one of its venues or festivals.
Live Nation has a wealth of consumer data at its disposal. That information includes, according to the company’s VP of programmatic, Mike Finnegan, who the customers are, where they’re going to be and how many people they’ll be with (Hercher, J. 2015). An app that functions as both a ticket outlet and a fan experience by targeting individuals is one example of the technology Live Nation is using or planning to use in the future.
Attracting fans on social media is a way to use technology to drive business. Live Nation promotes brand campaigns via boosted posts on sponsors’ Facebook and Twitter channels. The company targets the posts against its first party data by leveraging social pixels on LiveNation.com and TicketMaster.com. They can then use the posts to achieve the objective of providing value to the fan (i.e., win VIP tickets to a festival). (IEG Sponsorship Report. (n.d.).
Brexit is a main priority as this will affect the entire music industry in some aspect. Live Nation needs to track fluctuations in the Euro and economy and monitor who is touring Europe as ticket sales may decrease. Music festivals are very popular in Europe, and this may hurt business as many artists may not want the hassle of performing there right now, therefore Live Nation should focus on the global economy regarding new acquisitions and mergers.
While the UK economy may hurt Live Nation, the Asian market is looking promising. Asia continues to be a market of growth and opportunity for Live Nation, and the company has seen Singapore steadily raise its profile as a destination for tours. 2018 was also the most successful year to date for Live Nation’s existing business in Singapore, as they toured artists including Bruno Mars, Imagine Dragons, The Weeknd, Mariah Carey and Dua Lipa. Recently, Live Nation acquired ONE Production in Singapore.
According to Alan Ridgeway, the Chairman of Live Nation Asia Pacific, “By joining forces with ONE Production, we are creating the leading international concert promotion business in Singapore.” (Live Nation Expands Presence In Singapore Through Acquisition Of Leading Promoter ONE Production. (2019, January 28).
Another priority which combines social and technological factors is the use of demographics to secure sponsorship and advertising at events and boost social media interactions. Live Nation has used technology to advance their presence in social media circles. The Live Nation app offers paperless tickets and a variety of benefits for the concert goer by tracking location and preferences of customers based on their social media presence. Live Nation can use this information to target specific customers and giving them a true fan experience.
Live Nation is ready to compete in the live music industry environment. With physical CD sales declining, artists are relying on touring for their main source of income. With an international presence in over 40 countries, Live Nation is the premier promoter for these tours. Concerts generate millions of dollars in revenue which helps the economy of the host country as well as the success of Live Nation. Buying out smaller promoters in other countries establishes their presence further.
By keeping an eye on Brexit and focusing on Singapore, Live Nation can continue to generate income with ticket sales. Demographic analysis conducted by social media apps will assist Live Nation with advertising and promotion by targeting the fans of a genre or musical act. If Live Nation continues to produce apps ahead of the competition and target the right audience for the right show, they will remain the leader in the industry.
Hercher, J. (2015, July 08). Why Live Nation Thinks Programmatic Can Take Over The Concert And Festival Scene. Retrieved from https://adexchanger.com/digital-out-of-home/why-live-nation-thinks-programmatic-can-take-over-the-concert-and-festival-scene/
Hamel, G. (2016, September 29). Economic Factors Affecting Businesses. Retrieved from https://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/economic-factors-affecting-businesses-4557.html
(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.livenation.co.uk/ModernSlaveryStatement
How a PEST Analysis Can Help with Strategic Planning. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.business2community.com/strategy/pest-analysis-can-help-strategic-planning-01420731
IEG Sponsorship Report. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.sponsorship.com/Report/2017/12/04/How-Live-Nation-Is-Monetizing-Social-Media.aspx
Lamptey, M., Makos, J., Choden, BowabSak, M. N., Makos, J., Dare, . . . Okoth, D. (2016, June 21). Political Factors Affecting Business. Retrieved from https://pestleanalysis.com/political-factors-affecting-business/
Live Nation Expands Presence In Singapore Through Acquisition Of Leading Promoter ONE Production. (2019, January 28). Retrieved from http://www.wfmj.com/story/39863470/live-nation-expands-presence-in-singapore-through-acquisition-of-leading-promoter-one-production
Music & Live Events | Concert Tickets, Tour News, Venues. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.livenation.com/
Puckett, L., & Puckett, L. (2018, May 08). Ticketmaster and Live Nation are investing in facial recognition technology. Retrieved from https://www.thefader.com/2018/05/08/ticketmaster-live-nation-facial-recognition-tech
Snapes, L., & Snapes, L. (2016, June 13). The UK Leaving the EU Would Change the European Music Industry. Retrieved from https://pitchfork.com/thepitch/1186-the-uk-leaving-the-eu-would-change-the-european-music-industry/
Ticketmaster, Live Nation Slammed with Antitrust Class Action in NY As Bad Week Continues. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.classaction.org/news/ticketmaster-live-nation-slammed-with-antitrust-class-action-in-ny-as-bad-week-continues
Williams, J. (2017, October 16). Political factors that affect development. Retrieved from https://makewealthhistory.org/2007/07/01/political-factors-that-affect-development/