UK indie festivals want government to investigate Live Nation dominance

Festival generic

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has called for the government to investigate Live Nation’s dominance in UK live music, saying it ‘should ring alarm bells’ that the company controls around 23 percent of the UK festival market.

Download, Latitude, Wireless, Lovebox and Reading and Leeds Festival are among the festivals owned, co-owned or operated by Live Nation. Its closest competitor in the UK festival market is Global, which has an 8 percent share according to the research carried out by AIF.

UK regulatory body the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently investigating the company, following the news this year that it had become the majority shareholder in the Isle of Wight Festival.

Speaking to Billboard, AIF general manager Paul Reed said: ‘As they [Live Nation] increase their network and tentacles across all areas of the business, they make an environment in which it is far easier for them to acquire independent festivals or push them out of the market entirely.

‘That’s not a healthy or diverse market and it should ring alarm bells within the CMA that we have a single corporation heading towards a wide spread dominance within the market that increasingly has a stranglehold on talent.’

Among the concerns of the AIF – which represents over 60 festival owners and operators – is the existence of Live Nation exclusivity deals. In an AIF statement, an anonymous British promoter claims that the ‘majority’ of Live Nation-booked festival acts have signed ‘some sort of exclusivity clause’, adding that these clauses have ‘a detrimental effect on up and coming artists and independent festivals alike.’

‘An as independent music festival under 10,000 capacity, we come up against huge challenges as a result of the exclusivity clauses put in place by Live Nation’ they said.

Live Nation declined to comment when contacted by Billboard.