The Association of Independent Festivals has published a festival ownership map that highlights the continued dominance of a single major promoter in the sector, with Live Nation now controlling over a quarter of UK festivals over 5,000 capacity.
The map is launched alongside an online ‘stamp’ of independence that will allow music fans to easily identify an independent festival and understand where the money they spend at events ultimately ends up.
Live Nation now owns or controls 25.26% of UK festivals over 5,000 capacity. The American corporation’s festival market share is over three times that of its nearest rival Global, which controls 8% of the UK’s festivals over 5,000 capacity through promoter Broadwick Live.
Global is followed by AEG presents, which now owns 5% of that market.
In comparison, AIF’s members account for 20% of the market over 5,000 capacity, with 65 festivals and 37 individual companies across the membership.
Live Nation also owns Ticketmaster, the world’s largest ticketing company, which controls an estimated 46% of the top 61 venue box offices in the UK and sells 500 million tickets worldwide annually. The company also manages over 500 artists and promoted 30,000 concerts globally in 2017.
AIF has also renewed its call for UK competition authorities to properly scrutinise Live Nation’s vertical integration and dominance, and the detrimental effect it has on the independent festival market.
The AIF stamp and map aims to enable festival-goers to support independent businesses as well as educating audiences about the live sector supply chain and who controls its various elements.
In 2018 alone, Live Nation acquired two prominent UK promoters in Robomagic and Metropolis Music, as well as more around the world such as Rock In Rio and New Zealand’s Rhythm And Vines Festival.
As a result of Live Nation’s continued encroachment on the independent festival market, the AIF is renewing its call for the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) to properly investigate the company’s market dominance.
During a recent Parliamentary debate, MP Richard Bacon commented on Live Nation, pointing out that when one company is at the same time a global venue owner, promoter, artist management company and ticketing vendor, it is ‘a very obvious source of conflicts of interest.’
AIF Chief Executive Paul Reed said: “AIF’s festival ownership map paints a stark picture of the sector. Allowing a single company to dominate festivals, and the live music sector in general, through vertical integration reduces the amount of choice and value for money for music fans. It can block new entrants to market, result in strangleholds on talent through exclusivity deals and stifle competition throughout the entire live music business.
“We have also today launched a stamp of independence to celebrate our member events and so that customers can clearly identify when they are buying a ticket to an independent festival.
“AIF has been sounding the alarm for some time now but the effect on the independent festival sector continues. Simply put, this damaging market dominance needs to be given the scrutiny it deserves.”