Live & Touring

The Capitalization of EDM Continues: Live Nation Acquires HARD Events

LiveNationLarge-550x380As electronic dance music (EDM) continues to grow in prevalence, it continues to attract the attention of investors and major concert promoters looking to cash in. Robert Sillerman (the man who launched the concert company SFX, which went on to become Live Nation) has said that his revived SFX company is looking to spend upwards of $1 billion on acquisitions within a year. Sillerman has even reportedly offered $60 million to Insomniac alone, the company that produces the massive Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC). Having already acquired Disco Productions earlier this month and Cream Holdings LTD in May, today marks another milestone for Sillerman and Live Nation – the acquisition of HARD Events.

Live Nation announced today that they’ve purchased HARD Events, a leading electronic music concert promoter and festival operator. HARD Events is a well-respected brand within the EDM community with two popular festivals taking place in the Los Angeles area, HARD Summer Music Festival and HARD Haunted Mansion. Typically a one-day event, HARD Summer has expanded to a two-day festival this year (the festival drew over 30,000 fans last year), while HARD Haunted Mansion historically draws around 20,000 attendees.

HARD Events has had hard-hitting artists the likes of Justice, Skrillex, Boys Noize, and Crystal Castles headline some of their largest shows while also bringing the spotlight on some of today’s newer and rising electronic artists like Major Lazer, Knife Party and Gesaffelstein. Founder of HARD Events, Gary Richards, will continue to run HARD Events and will report to James Barton, founder of Cream Holdings and the newly appointed President of Live Nation Electronic Music.

President and CEO of Live Nation, Michael Rapino, seems confident that EDM isn’t going anywhere.

“Live Nation is committed to empowering the electronic dance space with resources and a network of some of the best talent in the industry,” Rapino said. “HARD Events joins a portfolio of electronic dance music and festival promoters and creators including Cream Holdings. We welcome Gary Richards and his team, and look forward to helping him continue to expand the reach of this dynamic genre for fans and artists alike.”

One has to wonder, as many within the EDM community certainly do, if all the corporate influence (and money) that is being pumped into the scene will jeopardize the integrity and creative health of the community.

“EDM has turned into a massively marketed cruise ship, and it’s sinking fast,” said Deadmau5 in a Tumblr post on Tuesday. “All I’m trying to do is put on my life jacket and swim as far away from this shipwreck as fast as I can.”

One thing is for certain: Live Nation has taken a considerable amount initiative to establish itself as a dominant and credible force in the electronic music world. 

Will EDM implode on itself? Is all this corporate influence positive or detrimental to the scene?

Leave your comments below.

Hisham Dahud is a Senior Analyst for Additionally, he is the head of Business Development for Fame House, LLC and an independent musician. Follow him on Twitter: @HishamDahud

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  1. I think EDM has not quite peaked, but its decline is around the corner. It’s image IS becoming more and more corporate, and as soon as concertgoers have to buy their rave tickets on ticketmaster, they will begin to lose faith in the integrity of the scene.

  2. The line b/n the underground electronic community and pop foolishness grows even wider now. And sorry, Alex, but those kids don’t care where they buy the tickets. Awesome, non-corporate events still exist and always will. Let the sheep go jump up and down in unison while greedy pigs take their money to the bank. Want to know what else is happening in the edm scene? Check the excellent youtube playlist featured at
    And Deadmau5 swimming away from the corporate cruise ship he helped create is as laughable as most of the cheese that spews from his mouth.

  3. That’s the whole thing, kids DO care where they buy the ticket. I’m a kid, 20 years old at USC, and we ALL care. Want to know why? Because we want to be seen as associating with cool and indie, not corporate and bloated!
    A friend of mine posted on FB “Live Nation bought Hard??? WTF.”
    These were the replies:
    “That’s sh*tty. I’m not entirely surprised.”
    “Wow. Get ready for super sh*tty lineups and high ticket prices.”
    The mental association the youth has with ticketmaster/livenation is one of being ripped off. Whether or not the lineups go downhill will not reverse the loss of integrity that radiated from HARD events previously. It was all about random people coming together and going crazy, far away from parents, politicians, and corporations. And I don’t even like electronic music.

  4. Totally agree…. Isn’t live nation , ticketmaster , Clear Channel , and Bain capital affiliated? That’s what will start to gross people out soon enuff

  5. I’m glad to hear your sentiment. That is what I mean by the underground electronic community and pop foolishness getting further divided, the real vs. the fake if you will. But the big money involved believes it has a product, and with all those flashy lights, DJs like Swedish House Mafia, Afrojack, Chuckie, Paris Hilton, Deadmau5, etc., I am inclined to agree. Real people will find another way to get down (wakarusa, electric forest, burning man, idk, i’m not too aware of the festival scene these days). But there are a ton of superficial/party-going/nicki-manaj-wannabes/band-wagon hoppers to support these corporate EDM festivals.
    I was at it in the mid/late 90s when Disco Productions was doing it as well as you could hope, but the scene still had an influx of people that didn’t know anything about the music, they just wanted to jump around to the lights and bass. And yes, ticketmaster was used then too. Now it’s all happening again, just much bigger this time. I am keeping an interested eye on it. The New York times article (below) was full of evil, and anytime huge dollars are involved there is reason to fear. Greed is a bad thing.
    Kudos to Disco and HARD for becoming multi-millionaires. How much did they make if EDC/Insomniac are turning down $60 million? Interesting they claim to “not be interested in booking superstar DJs anymore”.
    Thanks to Hypebot for keeping us up to date with this. Some links for further browsing, and to Nicki Manaj’s ridiculous video for Starships, which should really tell you everything you need to know about what’s coming. Peace.

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