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Live Nation posts a second quarter loss on sagging ticket sales

August 5, 2010 |  5:28 pm

Live Nation chief Irving Azoff may have taken to Twitter earlier this week to air his grievances with “jerk” journalists, wax philosophical on what the music industry “needs” (um, Mark Cuban? Really?) and get in the proverbial last word.

But Azoff’s online antics weren’t enough to distract from his company’s financial predicament, with Live Nation on Thursday reporting a substantial second quarter loss caused by the Great Summer Concert Ticket Sales Slump of 2010.

Live Nation’s net loss in the three months leading up to Jun. 30 swelled to $36.4 million from the same period a year earlier. But the bad news didn’t end there. The number of concerts staged by the company in the second quarter fell by 2.7% to 5,553 from a year ago, with total attendance down 5.7%. As well, the company’s revenue -- including the yield from Ticketmaster operations -- was down $135.6 million.

On the bright side, the concert-promoting-artist-managing colossus said that it met its own financial targets and that it is staying on track to achieve $40 million in cost synergies this year. And it said that despite a $40-million drop in adjusted operating income announced last month, Live Nation’s revenues grew to $1.27 billion from $1.05 billion (if you exclude the Ticketmaster results, that is).

Speaking of last words, Azoff tried to put a smiley spin on the quarterly report in a statement.

“Key artist tours anticipated during the summer and balance of the year for our artist management business include the Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Kid Rock, Kings of Leon and the Scorpions, just to name a few, and it is their success that will help fuel our company’s growth,” Azoff said. “As we look to the future, we are more confident than ever in our belief that Live Nation Entertainment has a unique business model to service artists and fans.”

-- Chris Lee

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