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Live Nation Worldwide's Giant Appetite


The Greek

I dislike giant corporations, I know they will eventually buy everything — because let’s face it, it will end up like this sooner or later — but I will continue to hate them. There is a battle between two giant ones going on in Los Angeles right now, and I may side with the lesser evil.

The Greek Theater is a good-sized outdoor arena, a sort of mini version of the Hollywood bowl nestled in the hills inside the residential part of Griffith Park, and it has been owned by Nederlander Concerts, for 39 years. Although they present themselves as a family-owned company, it is one of the largest operators of theaters and music venues in the US. I have attended many concerts at the Greek, Arcade Fire, Muse — when they used to be less famous and were doing less gargantuan concerts — the Shins, the Flaming Lips,… and I am going to see Massive Attack very soon over there.

However, the theater may soon be owned by Live Nation Worldwide, the giant corporation which recently set up Jay Z’s Made in America festival in LA and operates way too many concerts and festivals all around the country. However, Nederland has decided to fight and just got a new partner AEG live with a petition against Live Nation:

‘We stand challenged by Live Nation / Ticketmaster, a publicly traded Wall Street conglomerate. We invite everyone to let our City officials know how you feel,’ they wrote on their petition page.

They promise ‘at least $77,500,000 in rent to the city, which is $17,500,000 more than our opponent’s offer’ as well as a complete renovation of the Greek’s original 1930’s stage columns, a re-landscaping of the plaza, a new restaurant, a 365 day a year café,… and they have so far received more than half of the signatures needed. The Los Angeles Times even reports that neighbors have serious concerns about a change in ownership as they feel currently safe with Nederlander concerts. On the other hand, Live Nation concert promoter says it has been recommended by an advisory panel of the city’s Recreation and Parks Board of Commissioners.

I don’t know exactly what this would change for a concert-goer like me, but knowing that Live Nation mostly backs Ariana Grande, Justin Timberlake and Jay Z’s tours, I feel I am gonna loose something in the story. Just look at the Greek’s program for this past and upcoming days: Thievery Corporation, Sam Smith, Crosby, Stills & Nash, John Prine. Lorde, Ray Lamontagne, Massive Attack, La Ley, Laura Pausini, Alt-J….

Plus, I don’t like the idea of Live Nation buying everything. The New York Times reports that this same corporation is in ‘talks to buy a majority stake (51%) in C3 Presents the country’s largest independent promoter, whose portfolio includes the popular Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits festivals’. Live Nation already owns too many big things, like EDM festivals (Hard, Insomniac) and especially the very powerful Ticketmaster — or ticketbastard as one of my friends calls it. I signed the petition for this reason, although the fight is far from being over.

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