There has been a lot of talk lately about longstanding EDM promotion companies being sold. In order to understand what exactly is happening it is important to know the key players in the matter. One name you will want to become acquainted with is Robert F.X. Sillerman. Robert is an American billionaire who has been in and out of the entertainment industry for quite some time. You might know of the company Live Nation. Well, that began as Sillerman‘s company, SFX Entertainment. SFX was bought by Clear Channel in 2000 in a $4.4 billion deal. It should be noted that Sillerman would have received approximately 2,449,683 shares of Clear Channel in this deal. In 2005 the concert division of SFX was turned in to Live Nation by Clear Channel.
In May, Live Nation acquired Cream Holdings which gave them the rights to the Creamfields festivals. Sillerman said last year that he would be reviving SFX Entertainment and was looking to invest upwards of $1 billion in the Electronic Music market. In June Sillerman purchased Donnie Estopinal‘s Disco Donnie Presents and Live Nation bought HARD Events. In August, Sillerman picked up Dayglow, now known as Life in Color. It is clear that many long time promoters are cashing in on the rise of EDM.
I had a chance to talk to Josh Baron one of the authors of Ticket Masters, a book about the modern concert industry. “SFX Entertainment becomes Clear Channel Entertainment which becomes Live Nation. The name [SFX Entertainment] resurfaced through Bob Sillerman…clearly Bob did his homework to know that he could re-use that name…”, said Josh about the origins of the new SFX Entertainment.
SFX has now turned its head toward Insomniac and Opium Group. Insomniac has been extremely influential in the rise of dance music. Not only are they the force behind Electric Daisy Carnival, but they also put on numerous other festivals and events throughout the year. Sillerman has reportedly offered them a deal of $60 million. Insomniac is valued at $70 million to $100 million. Live Nation has also shown interest in Insomniac. Reports are that these companies are interested in buying 50-100% of Insomniac. Opium Group are the owners & operators of Mansion Nightclub, Cameo Nightclub, Louis-Bar Lounge, SET Nightclub, Mokai Lounge and Opium Hard Rock. So needless to say they are a force to be reckoned with in the EDM world. Rumor has it that SFX has already completed the deal on not only Opium Group but MMG as well, the group that runs Arkadia, Liv and Story.
It is important when reading this to understand that Clear Channel owns iHeart Radio, which recently launched Evolution, an EDM station. Do not be surprised if you see “Evolution” radio stations popping up all over the country as Clear Channel controls most of the radio in the US. Clear Channel and Live Nation have ties to SiriusXM as well which is home to the beloved Electric Area and BPM EDM stations.
In summary we have Clear Channel with control over the radio, Live Nation and SFX Entertainment with control over promoters and clubs. It is my feeling that to have EDM in the hands of only a few powers could be potentially fatal. One thing that has made our beautiful movement so unique is the innovative, unique minds behind the clubs, festivals, and promoters. To take those minds out of the equation and put Clear Channel, Live Nation and SFX Entertainment in charge could potentially change the face of EDM forever.
CCU 10-K 2000
And a huge thanks to Josh Baron