GLOBAL GIANT Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) intends to cut expenditure by $500 million in a bid to counter the devastating impact of the worldwide Covid-19 live event shutdown.
Leading the cost-cutting exercise, LNE president and CEO Michael Rapino has volunteered to forego his $3m basic salary, while other senior executives will have their salaries reduced by up to 50 per cent.
Co-president Joe Berchtold, whose $1.3m package is being cut to $650,000, and chief accounting officer Brian Capo’s $363,500 renumeration is being cut to $272,625.
In a statement to investors, the firm says further measures will involve reducing ticketing and concert advances, a freeze on hiring and a re-assessment of capital expenditure. LNE says it will also cut its use of contractors, renegotiate rents and eliminate or reduce expenditure on maintenance, marketing, travel and entertainment.
The company says that by the end of March Covid-19 lockdowns had impacted 8,000 of its shows, for which 15m tickets had been sold, but 7,000 of them, accounting for 14m tickets, were postponed rather than cancelled.
LNE says refunds have been issued for tickets for all canceled shows, but regulations in some European countries will enable the issuing of credit vouchers rather than refunds, even if an event is cancelled.
Meanwhile, subsidiary Ticketmaster (TM) has come under fire in the US for allegedly amending it ticket refund policy to cover only canceled events and not rescheduled or indefinitely postponed shows. TM claims it is not a policy change but an alteration of language used on its website to clarify an existing rule.