Live Nation chief Michael Rapino has achieved his long-held ambition to expand into Russia by opening up a new office in Moscow.
He looked at the market in 2004 and had talks with Nadia Soloviev about buying her SAV Entertainent, but the difficulties non-Russian companies have when doing business in Russia meant the deal fell through.
Rapino still managed to spearhead LN’s advance into the old Eastern Bloc by buying three promoters: Multimedia in Hungary, Interkoncerts in the Czech Republic and Odyssey in Poland.
“Establishing an office in Russia is the next step in our global expansion,” he said. “Russia and nearby markets have become an important part of our global tours in recent years, and by establishing a local presence we can rapidly scale our concerts for over 200 million fans.”
Although it had been forced to back off eight years ago, confirmation that LN still had Russia in its sights came in March, when Pollstar revealed LN had set up a new Finnish-registered company called Live Nation Russia and The Baltics.
It looked as if the first move would be to buy Peeter Rebane’s Baltic Group, the major promoter in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, but Live Nation Russia and Ukraine will be opening at the beginning of 2013.
It will be headed by Tim McWilliams, currently vice president of European tours, who has been appointed managing director.
Alan Ridgeway, LN president for international and emerging markets, told Pollstar that having a Moscow office will help the company focus on what has become an important touring market.
"We’ve worked with several partners, including SAV, PMI, Euro Entertainment, Melnitsa, NCA and CAT. We expect to continue to work with them and no doubt will come across new partners, especially as we explore the opportunities in other cities across Russia,” he said.
The acts LN has promoted in the region include Madonna, Lady Gaga, U2 and Shakira.
Upcoming and recent LN shows include Sting, who played Krasnodar Nov. 23 and Rostov-on-Don Nov. 24, and Lady Gaga, who later this month plays St. Petersburg and Moscow.