AEG vs. Live Nation in a Battle for Bookings
Today we take a closer look at the war brewing between Live Nation and AEG over coordinated bookings between rival venues between the two companies. But let’s break it down. Live Nation owns the rights to operate Madison Square Garden in New York City and the Forum in Inglewood, California. The Madison Square Garden Company owns both venues. AEG owns the operating rights to the O2 arena in London, the highest grossing venue of the last decade, and the Staples Center in L.A., located about 10 miles from the Forum, meaning when an act gets booked at either the Staples Center or the Forum, they do not get booked at the other. So where’s the beef?
AEG alleges that Live Nation, either directly or by turning a blind eye, has allowed the Madison Square Garden Company to usurp potential Staples Center acts by leveraging its control on Madison Square Garden, essentially ensuring acts can perform at the historic NYC venue on the condition that they perform at the Forum.
After an onslaught of complaints and other tactics to even the playing field, AEG announced this week that it has exhausted all other avenues and must resort to tethering their venues together as well. AEG will now require any acts wishing to be booked at the O2 in London to play the Staples Center, in their minds effectively evening the playing field.
In a lengthy statement published Monday by AEG, they will not discourage acts from also booking with Live Nation, nor will they discontinue their history of allowing other agencies like Live Nation to book at their venues. And despite AEG’s insistence that this decision is in solidarity of their philosophy that artists should have choices not bound in red tape and fans should be able to experience live music in the most prodigious way possible, it’s hard to not to see the thinly-veiled business tactics behind the decision.