Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino believes that marketers can learn a lot from musicians. “I’ve met plenty of CMOs in life,” he says, “and I always say that I’ve never met any that can hold a candle to rock stars, who I truly believe are the greatest brand managers in the world… These people understand the core of what their brand is and what their fans want.”
He cites acts as diverse as The Rolling Stones, Bono, and Jay-Z as examples of icons who are as smart and brand-conscious as they are talented. In a recent interview with AdWeek, Rapino elaborated on the special relationship between musicians and sponsors in the arena of live music: “The artist understands and appreciates advertisers who are not only paramount to making these live events come to life, but they are also extremely important as artists are continually searching for great partners and brands to help build awareness for their tours, their brands and their products.”
Rapino continually embraces technology as a means of enhancing the customer’s gig experience; he explains how, for example, a spectator at a Live Nation event now has the ability to order drinks from their seat and purchase band merchandise using their phone, without missing a second of the show. This innovation looks set to continue with the launch of a 24-hour streaming channel, coming to screens this May. Developed in partnership with VICE, it will comprise live concert coverage, music videos, and original programming – like MTV, back when MTV was actually about music.
“We continue to see the tremendous power of live events with strong consumer global demand,” Rapino says of the company’s on-going growth. “Live is truly a unique entertainment form, it cannot be duplicated, it is elevated, not threatened by technology, and it’s borderless.”