(UPDATED) COMMENTARY: In February 2006, shortly after Michael Rapino took the helm of Live Nation, he shared his vision of what the company needed to do to grow the live music business. He spoke of an industry where the vast majority of tickets are sold online yet the majority of marketing is still done via traditional media; and consumers turned off by high ticketing fees, even higher ticket prices and a less than saticfacotry concert going experience.
With Live Nation's Ticketmaster merger and uber-manager Irving Azoff firmly in Chairman's seat, Rapino and company have set the stage for real change in the concert industry and beyond. The acquisition of Big Champagne's deep music data experience combined with Live Nation and Ticketmaster's treasure trove of fan and consumer data is the essential next step to drive a transformation of live music based on data rather than the antiquated assumptions of the old guard music industry
But empowering BigChampange founders Eric Garland and Joe Fleischer to build a team that already includes former Warner Brothers Records SVP Ethan Kaplan and former Hypebot Editor and Billboard Social/Streaming Chart Manager Kyle Bylin hints at the real potential of the acquisition. Some the the new music industry's most forward thinkers are now in the same room backed by the resources of one of the world's largest music companies.
There's never a guarantee that any post-acquisition honeymoon will last. But if this one does, important initiatives that previously seemed almost un-doable - unfiltered measurement of music success, truly targeted music marketing, variable ticket pricing and an immersive concert experience that combines online and the real world - become possible.