Live Nation, AEG, booking agencies unite to suspend major tours over coronavirus fears

Billie Eilish

The global coronavirus pandemic has caused a shutdown of major tours, with the live sector’s biggest players uniting in postponing large scale live events for the rest of March.

In an unprecedented show of unity, Live Nation, AEG, CAA, WME, Paradigm and UTA have formed a task force to “drive strategic support and unified direction ensuring precautionary efforts and ongoing protocol are in the best interest of artists, fans, staff, and the global community”, according to a joint statement.

The task force includes many of live music’s biggest power players: Michael Rapino (CEO and president, Live Nation Entertainment), Dan Beckerman (president and CEO, AEG and board member, ASM Global), Jay Marciano (chairman and CEO, AEG Presents), Rob Light (managing partner and head of the music division, CAA), Marc Geiger (partner and head of music, WME), Sam Gores (chairman, Paradigm), Marty Diamond (head of global music, Paradigm), and recent Music Week cover star David Zedeck (global head of music, UTA).

Tours affected include Billie Eilish (pictured), Tame Impala, The Strokes and Post Malone.

“At this time, we collectively recommend large scale events through the end of March be postponed,” the statement reads. “We continue to support that small scale events follow guidance set by their local government officials. We feel fortunate to have the flexibility to reschedule concerts, festivals, and live events as needed, and look forward to connecting fans with all their favourite artists and live entertainment soon.”

While it will have a global effect, Music Week understands that the statement principally concerns North America, and it is not yet clear exactly how the policy will be applied in the UK. Scheduled March arena shows at The O2 in London by David Gray and Planet Earth II Live In Concert remain on sale at time of writing.

But the decision is sure to have an effect on touring in Britain, even though there are, as yet, no government restrictions in place on events in this country. Nonetheless, a toxic cocktail of travel bans, international lockdowns, artist cancellations and consumer fears have already led to many high-profile postponements, including this weekend’s scheduled Country To Country Festival in London, Dublin and Glasgow and The Who’s UK tour.

While US employees have reportedly been told to work from home, Music Week understands that Live Nation’s UK offices remain open. We will bring you more news on this developing story as we have it.

* For the latest coronavirus developments, check out Music Week's round-up of its effect on the music industry. To subscribe to Music Week and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.

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