Live Nation and its CEO Michael Rapino were singled out as the most egregious example of a company’s chief executive receiving ridiculously inflated compensation compared to the workers they employ in a new report released last week. The Executive Excess report, issued by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), noted that the entertainment giant’s CEO earned a whopping 5,414 times more than the median salary at Live Nation Entertainment last year – the widest pay gap among any S&P 500 corporation in the study.

“The ‘Low-Wage 100’ large corporations are enriching CEOs at the expense of both workers and taxpayers,” reads the sub-headline on the Executive Excess 2023 report from IPS, which is the 29th annual edition of the document.

“Live Nation Entertainment sported the fattest CEO paycheck AND the widest pay gap,” it continues in the “key findings” section that kicks off the report itself. “Michael Rapino hauled in $139 million, 5,414 times as much as his firm’s $25,673 median pay.”


Rapino’s compensation has been a lightning rod for Live Nation Entertainment in the last few months, as consumers have complained over constantly inflating prices for tickets to live events, all while the globe’s largest promoter – and Ticketmaster parent company – has raked in record-shattering earnings along the way. Earlier this year, the company’s own shareholders rebuked the CEO compensation, voting against ratifying the figures paid to Rapino, President and CFO Joe Berchtold, chief accounting officer Brian Capo, executive VP John Hopmans and general counsel Michael Rowles.

Much of Rapino’s compensation in 2022 came in the form of a huge stock incentive bonus, a fact which the company was quick to point out in its proxy statement – presumably in hopes of deflecting anger over the pay gap. But even leaving out that bonus, Rapino’s salary would be more than 300 times the median worker at his company – nearly double the pay 187:1 gap across all S&P 500 companies, according to IPS.

The study also pointed out that Live Nation is one of the many companies that has complained about an inability to hire workers since the pandemic.

“In response to strikes and union organising drives, corporate leaders routinely insist that they simply lack the wherewithal to raise employee pay,” the report said. “And yet top executives seem to have little trouble finding resources for enriching themselves and wealthy shareholders.”

For 2022, Live Nation reportedly paid Rapino a salary of $3 million, with a $6 million signing fee, a $12 million cash bonus, and stock awards of over $116 million.

Last Updated on August 29, 2023