Live Nation Changes Artist Fee Policies Due to Uncertainty

Live Nation changes artist fee and cancellation policies as a response to the financial uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic

There’s still no telling when music venues will be able to reopen their doors to large crowds of concertgoers. Live Nation, one of the largest live events companies in North America, is making changes in reaction to the uncertainty. In a recently leaked memo, the company told its talent partners that it plans to make an array of alterations for concerts and festivals held in 2021.

Live Nation changes due to uncertainty

Most of the new policies shift financial burdens to artists. For example, Live Nation wants to decrease monetary guarantees promised to artists before an event by 20% across the board. Additionally, the new changes include reduced payments for concert cancellations and a major fine if an artist cancels a show. This type of penalty is largely unheard of in the live music industry.

“We are fully aware of the significance of these changes, and we did not make these changes without serious consideration,” Live Nation wrote.

Some of the terms detailed in the memo were standard prior to the pandemic. The new aspects are part of broader negotiations with the music industry to navigate the post-COVID future when shows get back up and running.

Reasons for the Change

Live Nation stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in recent months. These changes also affect the dynamics of the music industry. As the world is in unprecedented times, the company must adequately account for the shift in market demand, the rise of costs, and the overall increase of uncertainty that affects concert attendance.

Live Nation stated the following in the memo:

We are fully aware of the significance of these changes, and we did not make these changes without serious consideration. We appreciate you – and all artists – understanding the need for us to make these changes in order to allow the festival business to continue not only for the artists and the producers, but also for the fans.

Terms and conditions

The following are the terms and conditions for artists moving forward:

Artist Fees

Live Nation will adjust Artist guarantees downward 20% from 2020 levels. Artists will receive a deposit of 10% one month before the festival. This deposit will be contingent on an executed agreement and fulfillment of marketing responsibilities. Live Nation will pay The balance, after standard deductions for taxes and production costs, post-performance. Furthermore, the company will require all artists to assist in the marketing of the festival event through minimum social media posting requirements. Transportation and accommodation expenses will be the responsibility of the artist.

Streaming requirements

The new terms also include streaming requirements. Artists will also have to allow their performances to be filmed. The festival can use the footage for a live television broadcast, a live webcast, on-demand streaming, and/or live satellite radio broadcast.


The purchaser will retain 30% of Artist merchandise sales. They will then send 70% to the artist within two weeks following the Festival.


The promoter controls all sponsorship at the festival without any restrictions. Artists may not promote brands onstage or in its productions.


Any violation without the festival’s prior authorization in writing will, at the festival’s sole discretion, result in either a reduction of the artist fee or the removal of the artist from the event. Live Nation will also require the return of any pre-event deposits in this case.


Artists must carry their own cancellation insurance. The promoter is not responsible for the artist fee in the event of a cancellation of the festival or event. If an artist cancels, the artist will pay the promoter two times the artist’s fee.


If a show cancels due to poor ticket sales, the artist receives 25% of the guarantee.

If the artist’s performance is canceled due to an event of force majeure – including a pandemic similar to Covid-19 – the promoter will not pay the artist fee. The artist is responsible for obtaining any cancellation insurance for its performance.

If the promoter is not permitted to use the full capacity of the venue, because of a venue rule or a government mandate, the promoter may terminate the agreement, and the artist will have to refund any money previously paid.

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