Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The future of live music: shops, apartments and restaurants

AEG’s plans for its venues may well be a template for live music operators in the future

London's Wembley Arena, one of AEG's sheds

Fri, Apr 25, 2014, 09:52


Those keen to know the future of the live entertainment business should note what concert promoters AEG are doing at the moment. Their business model reveals perhaps more about the industry than promoters talking spuriously about a lack of suitable acts or the like for their reputationally damaged festival.

Hannah Karp’s recent Wall Street Journal report on AEG’s plans may have been about how the giant global operation plans to streamline its operations, but it also revealed a lot of joined-up thinking at the company.

While AEG may own or operate arenas in London, Berlin, Los Angeles, Paris, Las Vegas and other cities, these venues will only attract punters when there’s an event on. What AEG want to do is develop “entertainment districts” around the arenas with shops, apartments and restaurants to draw in more footfall.

It’s not rocket science – Harry Crosbie had something similar in mind with the Point Village around the O2 in Dublin before everything went awry – but it’s fascinating to see AEG highlighting this as a way forward.

They’re also talking again about their AXS ticketing set-up and hope to persuade non-AEG venues to use their services by offering more favourable terms and conditions than the Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster.

For operators at the sharp end of the game, such developments make complete sense. You need to have volume and scale to make the numbers add up so having a bunch of ancillary businesses around your venue will bring in more people.

Similarly, you can increase your corporate footprint – and kick your competitor’s ass – by having more promoters and venues using your ticketing system.

What will be interesting to see, though, is if AEG continue to stay clear of distractions. As they seem to have learned, better to deal with what you know than taking on something beyond your range of expertise.