Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino posted an open letter addressing issues of racism and discrimination in society, pledging that his company is “committing to take steps to ensure that everyone in our community – employees, artists, and fans – is valued, respected, and treated equitably.” Among those steps is a $10 million investment in “developing, promoting and hiring Black and underrepresented talent” to bring its employee population in line with race and gender lines in countries it operates in. That includes at the top of the company, by way of a plan to aim for at least 30 percent of the company’s board “be diverse” by 2025.
The letter posted to the company website is dated July 9, notably the same date a furloughed executive filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination and retaliation in California. Variety points out that it is likely too detailed of a plan to have been hatched as an on-the-fly response to the allegations contained in the lawsuit.
Beyond internal changes, the letter promises increased spend with Black and minority-owned vendors, and making a point to broaden the range of artists promoted by the company around the globe.
The full letter is included below:
At Live Nation, our mission has always been about bringing people together to share experiences and to unify them through the universal language of music. Despite the fact that we remain physically distant, this fundamental part of who we are is as important as it has ever been. We can only be successful in this mission if we address inequality and injustice at every level of our organization.
Recent events in the U.S. and around the world have sparked overdue reflection on racism and discrimination in our societies, as well as here at Live Nation. As the leader in live music, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to amplify the conversation around anti-racism and Black Lives Matter in order to be a part of the solution. We also recognize the need to expand our efforts across race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and other underrepresented groups.
We are committing to take steps to ensure that everyone in our community – employees, artists, and fans – is valued, respected, and treated equitably.
We commit to increasing diversity at every level of our company. This will start at the very top with our Board of Directors, where we plan to nominate more Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) and women candidates as we strive towards having at least 30% of our directors be diverse by 2025. When it comes to our leadership representation (Director and above), we are setting representation goals on a country-by-country basis in order to acknowledge local dynamics and best serve each region. In the United States, we plan to have doubled our Black leadership representation, and to have increased our overall racially/ethnically diverse leadership representation to 30% by 2025. We’ll be investing at least $10 million globally over the next two years as we expand and launch new programs focused on developing, promoting and hiring Black and underrepresented talent as we work to bring our overall employee population to parity across race and gender in every country. This will include expanding Future Nation, formalizing mentorship programs, building career training and coaching opportunities, growing scholarship offerings, developing pipelines for more diverse hiring, and other efforts.
We commit to putting diversity center stage at our events around the world. As the biggest economic driver for artists, we want to ensure live music continues to unlock opportunities for equity and prosperity, and we will keep taking steps to broaden the range of artists we promote around the globe. Over the past 10 years, we’ve invested over $300 million in music business ventures that empower Black artists and entrepreneurs. We will continue developing and investing in more music ventures, as well as festivals, tours, and programs that empower Black, Latin, female and other underserved groups as they continue to shape the future of music and culture. Additionally, our 100+ festivals will strive to present more diverse lineups, including more artists from underrepresented races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and genders.
We commit to increasing our spend with Black and minority-owned vendors. We spend over $2 billion each year on staging and sourcing for shows, with a supply chain that spans the globe. We can use this spending power to drive economic empowerment and help grow small and disadvantaged businesses. In the future, we will look for opportunities to support minority-owned business wherever possible, from stage lighting companies to our 401k investment managers, and more.
We commit to amplifying social justice causes. Music has the power to shift perspective and drive change, and many of the artists we work with are at the forefront of the social justice conversation. Last year we helped bring concerts to over 40 countries and 100 million fans, and we vow to utilize our global platforms to increase awareness and engagement for artist causes. Once we are back to doing shows at scale, we will also be able to develop our own programs and initiatives that artists, brands, and fans can tap into, including championing voter registration on-site at venues and online as part of the ticket-purchase experience.
We commit to holding ourselves accountable. To ensure our words turn into action, we will be providing anti-bias education training, tracking our diversity data globally, facilitating ongoing pay equity analysis, tying our goals to leadership compensation, and establishing an Equity Accountability Board led by different leaders from across the business to govern and influence our goals. With ongoing accountability, we believe we can become a more actively anti-racist organization.
This is a movement, not a moment. Rest assured these actions will continue to expand and evolve over time – especially when our concerts and revenue begin to ramp back up. Racism and inequality are systemic problems, and we must make this an ongoing dialogue in order to drive real, lasting change. Our ultimate goal is to be as representative as the communities and artists we serve. The core of our business is promoting, and we are committed to improving our promotion of diversity within our company and the world at large. I am confident that this will make us an even stronger team.
Stay safe, and please continue to make your voices heard.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Live Nation Entertainment