Posting a slim profit, Live Nation this month reported that it beat Wall Street analysts’ expectations and posted better than expected second quarter earnings for the three months ended June 30, 2008.

The company reported revenue of $1.16 billion, an 18 percent increase from $986 million a year ago. According to David Kestenbaum, an analyst with Morgan Joseph, it was an impressive quarter, and the company’s $1.16 billion revenue “was easily ahead of our $1.04 billion expectations,” he wrote in his report.

Despite a weakened economy, Live Nation attributes this increase to a rise in the number of concerts, ticket sales and spending per fan during the quarter.

North American music sales jumped 32.8 percent to $619.7 million from $466.6 million during the same period from a year ago.

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“We have two priorities in 2008 – to continue to grow our concert business and to prepare to vertically expand into the ticketing business,” Michael Rapino, Live Nation’s President and CEO, said in a statement. “Our core business is buying and producing concert rights and monetizing the live experience through our distribution pipe. We were successful in growing both.”

Rapino also said that the company is on target to launch its ticketing operation on January 1, 2009, which will “complete our connection to the fan and transform Live Nation into the only music company that is vertically integrated from artist to fan as a direct distributor.”

Wall Street apparently liked Live Nation’s 2Q performance. One day after the announcement, the company’s stock gained $3.53, or 28 percent to close at $16.15. As of 10:58am today, August 13, the stock was trading at $16.35.

There seems to be no indication that the June 20 resignation of Michael Cohl, former CEO of Live Nation Artists and former chairman of Live Nation’s board of directors, had any bearing on the company’s second quarter earnings report. Cohl remains on board as a consultant through June 2012.

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