Live Nation’s “On the Road Again” Plan Aims to Boost Artist Income
Live Nation, the global live entertainment giant, has unveiled its ambitious “On the Road Again” plan, promising to provide substantial financial support to artists and touring crews. The initiative, announced on Tuesday, intends to deliver “tens of millions of dollars” by offering $1,500 in gas and travel cash per show to all headlining acts and support acts. This additional financial aid is in addition to their nightly performance compensation. The plan is applicable at venues either owned, operated, or exclusively booked by Live Nation. Furthermore, Live Nation-owned clubs will waive merchandise-selling fees, allowing artists to retain 100% of their merchandise profits.
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While this move by Live Nation is aimed at providing financial relief to artists and their teams, it has drawn criticism from the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), which represents over a thousand independently owned venues in the United States. NIVA is concerned that Live Nation’s plan may negatively impact independent venues, with allegations that the multibillion-dollar corporation is attempting to divert artists from independent venues and further consolidate its control over the live entertainment sector.
“Temporary measures may appear to help artists in the short run but actually can squeeze out independent venues which provide the lifeblood of many artists on thin margins,” NIVA stated in a press release on Wednesday. “Independent venues and promoters are investing in and elevating up-and-coming artists every day, and NIVA is supporting those efforts nationally. The initiative announced yesterday may seem like a move to follow the lead of some independent venues. It is not that.”
The organization believes that Live Nation’s tactics could threaten the vitality of small and medium-sized venues with capacities under 3,000, many of which are still struggling to survive in the wake of the global pandemic. Independent venues are critical to the live entertainment ecosystem and local economies, serving as launchpads for countless artists, musicians, and comedians.
“The economics of touring must drastically improve for artists and independent venues. There has to be a better way,” NIVA’s statement concludes. “NIVA will continue to support artists and empower independent venues as we collectively find it.”
NIVA, formed early in the pandemic, played a pivotal role in the creation of the $16 billion “Save Our Stages” act, which aimed to provide financial relief to independent venues and theaters. The act was eventually passed into law by Congress in December 2020. While there were delays in the distribution of funds by the Small Business Administration, NIVA persisted in pressuring the SBA until the money began to flow during the summer of 2021.
Live Nation’s “On the Road Again” plan also includes financial bonuses for local promoters and tour representatives who help organize shows, as well as venue crew members who have worked over 500 hours in 2023. The resources for this initiative are sourced directly from the venue’s existing earnings. A complete list of participating venues is available here.
Live Nation’s announcement has generated significant debate within the entertainment industry, with artists, independent venues, and music enthusiasts closely watching how this initiative will impact the live entertainment landscape.