As the music industry is halted and fans are craving live entertainment, concert promoters are thinking of new ways to hold concerts — from a safe distance.
On Thursday, entertainment giant Live Nation held an investor earnings call, discussing revenue from the first quarter of 2020. Live Nation reported that there was a 21% loss in revenue for the quarter, which ended March 31, following widespread cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic. Concert year-over-year revenue dropped 25% from $1.318 billion to $993.4 million, with ticketing revenue dropping 16 percent from $337.6 million to $248.3 million.
During the call, Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino said that the company would test crowdless broadcasted shows, reduced capacity festivals, and drive-in movie theater concerts over the summer.
“Whether it’s in Arkansas or a state that is safe, secure and politically is fine to proceed in, we’re going to dabble in fanless concerts with broadcasts, we’re going to dabble in fanless concerts with broadcasts, we’re going to go and do reduced capacity shows because we can make the math work,” Rapino said. “There are a lot of great artists that can sell out an arena, but they’ll do 10 higher end smaller theaters or clubs. We’re seeing lots of artists chomping to get back out once it’s safe.”
Over the summer, Rapino said that the company will reach other markets – including Asia and Finland – with potential testing taking place when its safe and reopening phases begin.
“So it’s important for us to keep doing drive-in concerts, which we’re going to test and roll out, which we’re having some success with, fanless concerts which have great broadcasting opportunities, reduced capacity festival concerts, which could be outdoors, could be in a theater, could be in a large stadium floor where there’s enough room to be safe,” Rapino said. “We have all of these plans in place depending on the market and where the local city may sit in their reopening phases.”
Already, news broke of the first drive-in movie concert tour this summer. The alternative/indie musician Marc Rebillet announced earlier this week that he will make stops at drive-in theaters across the country – “social distancing observed” – including Charlotte’s Hound’s Drive-In, Admiral Twin Drive-In in Tulsa, and Forth Worth’s Coyote Drive-In.
Another concert is slated to be held next week in Arkansas. It will be one of the state’s first post-lockdown concerts when Travis McCready headlines TempleLive. The style of limited checkerboard seating will be implemented with only 229 concertgoers in attendance, rather than a full 1,100.