As Live Nation looks to rebound from a rollercoaster 2010, rival concert promoter AEG Live has scored a major coup at the company’s expense...

As Live Nation looks to rebound from a rollercoaster 2010, rival concert promoter AEG Live has scored a major coup at the company’s expense by luring veteran promoter Brian Murphy, a key figure in the Southern California music scene, away from Live Nation.

Murphy, formerly chairman of Southern California music for Live Nation, will now assume the role of West Coast president at AEG Live, according to the Los Angele Times, which first reported the move. He has been a fixture in the concert business for 30 years.

Live Nation is the nation’s largest concert promoter and ticketing company, while AEG Live is the second-ranked promoter.

The Southern California music scene is one of the most hotly contested regions in the nation, and Murphy has a lifetime of connections and contacts he can call on, which makes the move a boon for AEG, as it continues to chart its path against Live Nation.

“It was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make in business. There are employees I’m leaving who have been with me for 20 years,” Murphy told the Los Angeles Times. “But it was too good an opportunity to pass up. I’m an L.A. guy, and AEG Live is an L.A.-centric company.”

As it enters 2011, a year after its merger with Ticketmaster took effect, Live Nation finds itself facing an evolving concert landscape. The company has already begun making some changes in its concert divisions, in part due to its plan to pay artists less for tours in 2011.

AEG Live might find itself in a similar situation, but having Murphy on their side in the Southern California market might help smooth over some of those artist negotiations. In addition, Murphy also might be able to help AEG Live with discussions with promoters, venues and others if AEG decides to pursue creating a ticketing operation.

“Having Brian really completes us as a company on the West Coast. We’ll be booking more shows at the Nokia at the expense of the [Live Nation-owned] Gibson Amphitheatre,” AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips told the Los Angeles Times. “We’ll be promoting more shows at Staples as promoters. We’ll be more vibrant, more important as a local promoter as opposed to being just a venue operator. It’s a game-changer.”