Live Nation Planning To Test Crowdless Shows, Drive-In Concerts and Reduced-Capacity Festivals

With the COVID-19 pandemic putting the breaks on live music for the past two months, and in many cases, the…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

May 8, 2020


3:21 pm

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Concert Crowd; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

With the COVID-19 pandemic putting the breaks on live music for the past two months, and in many cases, the foreseeable future, concert promoters around the globe are racing to find a way to make up for lost earnings. Concert and ticketing giant Live Nation, which also owns Ticketmaster, reported a 21% drop in revenue in the first quarter, with concert revenue dropping 25% and ticket revenue dipping 16% from last year. During the company’s earnings call, Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino reportedly shared plans to continue to drive revenue amid the current global health crisis.

“Whether it’s in Arkansas or a state that is safe, secure and politically is fine to proceed in, we’re going to dabble in fanless concerts with broadcasts, we’re going to go and do reduced capacity shows because we can make the math work,” Rapino said according to Rolling Stone. “There are a lot of great artists that can sell out an arena, but they’ll do 10 higher-end smaller theaters or clubs. We’re seeing lots of artists chomping to get back out once it’s safe.”

He went on to share that the company plans to test these concepts in markets that have experienced a lesser impact from COVID-19.

“You’re going to see us in different countries, whether it’s Finland, whether it’s Asia, Hong Kong — certain markets are farther ahead — we kind of look at over the summer there will be testing happening,” Rapino explained.

He later elaborated on the company’s plans and revealed that there are several options for live music, depending upon the location and to what degree it was impacted by the virus.

“So it’s important for us to keep doing drive-in concerts, which we’re going to test and roll out, which we’re having some success with, fanless concerts which have great broadcasting opportunities, reduced capacity festival concerts, which could be outdoors, could be in a theater, could be in a large stadium floor where there’s enough room to be safe. We have all of these plans in place depending on the market and where that local city may sit in their reopening phases.”

On top of getting creative with ways to drum up revenue, Rapino previously shared that he will be giving up the remainder of his $3 million salary and that other execs would be taking salary cuts. In an effort to cut $600 million in 2020, the company also announced furloughs and hiring freezes.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.