If you thought the music biz was gonna calm itself down as the Christmas season approached, you thought 100% wrong. Because not only is this Monday morning an absolute doozy, but it’s arguably the biggest story to hit Australian music all year.
Gargantuan international promotions and entertainment company Live Nation has just bought itself a significant slice of the Australian industry pie, by taking over a controlling stake in homegrown operation Secret Sounds Group.
What this means, effectively, is that Live Nation now owns the majority share of not only Splendour in the Grass, but the Falls Festival and a handful of other major Aussie fests as well.
Live Nation confirmed that their acquisition of a 51% stake in Secret Sounds was primarily one targeted at getting involved with both Splendour and Falls, which represent the two of the biggest and most prominent music festivals on the Australian calendar.
The buyout is only focused on Secret Sounds festival operations, and does not include their record label affiliates in Dew Process and Create Control.
Live Nation, based out of Los Angeles, has a laundry list of prominent music festivals from around the globe under their operating belt, such as Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Reading, Leeds, Electric Daisy Carnival, Governor’s Ball, and Rock Werchter.
The purchase of both Splendour and Falls represents the group’s first serious foray into the Australian festival market. There was strong rumours back in 2014 that the company was interested in acquiring Big Day Out from then-ownership group C3, but the festival folded shortly after Live Nation acquired the controlling company.
In a statement issued confirming the acquisition, Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino praised both festivals, as well as Secret Sounds head honchos Jess Ducruo and Paul Piticco.
“Splendour in the Grass and Falls are the two most iconic festivals in Australia. Jess and Paul have created events that attract the biggest artists in the world but still feel uniquely Australian. We look forward to partnering with them to find new ways to grow our live event footprint across Australia.”
Meanwhile both Ducruo and Piticco praised the deal as the best possible outcome to help both festivals grow and maintain viability moving in to the future:
“We started Secret Sounds with the sole mission of introducing Australians to the best artists, events and music possible, and Live Nation is the perfect partner to help us take this goal to the next level. With their support we can continue to curate the lineups that fans love, while also experimenting with new exciting ways for fans to experience live music.”
The acquisition from Live Nation also includes Secret Sounds’ touring, sponsorship, PR, artist management, and domestic agency business.
This is, not to put too fine a point on things, absolutely bloody huge news, with long-reaching ramifications for the Australian festival circuit.
How Live Nation manages both Splendour and Falls moving forward quite obviously remains to be seen at this stage.
Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty.