Two Dallas venues continue artist assistance program after Texas sues Live Nation

Live Nation, which faces a recently filed Justice Department lawsuit accusing the entertainment giant of violating antitrust laws and jacking up ticket prices, said it is moving forward with its little-known travel compensation program for touring musicians.

Last year, Live Nation released “On the Road Again.” Under the program, Live Nation club venue support and touring acts should receive a $1,500 travel stipend in addition to performance pay. The plan also eliminates the merchandise sales fee, which is expected to be 20%. This means that artists receive 100% of the profits from the sale of merchandise. The House of Blues Dallas and the Echo Lounge and Music Hall are two venues in North Texas participating in the program.

Live Nation later announced it would pay bonuses to behind-the-scenes staff and increase the hourly minimum wage to $20 as part of the plan.

Artists have had mixed reactions to the plan. Those who received compensation used it to help them pay rent, while others said they never received the promised benefits.

House of Blues, Echo Lounge join Live Nation’s new artist development program

Llandon Broadhead is a darkwave musician from Dallas named Llora who played a supporting role as Twin Tribes in House of Blues in October 2023. and a $750 Shell gas station gas card as travel compensation.

“I was getting paid $1,800 for a 30-minute show, and I’d never been paid that much before,” Brodhead said. “I use it to pay my rent, which is great.”

In January, Dallas rapper Tevyn Jenkins performed at House of Blues, supporting rapper Reason. He said the $750 gas card he received paid for about four months of gas. He also used the $750 in cash to pay more than usual for a DJ and photographer. He said this helps generate extra cash to invest in more studio time and marketing.

“I think it’s a good idea for any promotion company to have a program like this to incentivize artists,” Jenkins said. “I look forward to working with them in the future.”

Minimum wage doubled at Dallas House of Blues and Echo Lounge through Live Nation plan

Arts Access contacted Live Nation via email to request an interview. Chandler Owen, a representative for Live Nation, sent a press release with information about the plan. She also shared information about the number of acts performing at the House of Blues and Echo Lounge and benefiting from the program. However, when she was asked three times to arrange an interview with someone from Live Nation and staff from House of Blues or Echo Lounge, she did not respond. As a result, we were unable to verify whether staff at these venues received the increased minimum wage, nor to question artists who claimed they had not.

Live Nation is the largest entertainment company in the world. It has more than 265 concert venues in North America and 60 of the top 100 amphitheaters in the United States. This means it also owns and operates venues, sells tickets, books artists, promotes concerts, and more.

On the Road Again launches in September 2023 after a class-action lawsuit sparked an investigation into Live Nation for allegedly lying to investors by failing to disclose allegedly anti-competitive aspects of the company’s business. The company has been criticized for allegedly mishandling ticket sales for Taylor Swift’s 2023 Time Tour. On the day the pre-sale tickets were released, the demand for tickets was so strong that the Ticketmaster website was paralyzed, leaving many fans without tickets.

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Last month, Texas joined a Justice Department lawsuit against Live Nation, accusing the company of raising ticket prices and violating antitrust laws. The lawsuit claims Live Nation harmed the entertainment industry, including fans, artists and venues.

“Large corporations cannot control entire industries to create an anticompetitive environment, raise prices and take advantage of consumers,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. “Through this lawsuit, our goal is to ensure that those affected by this merger Fair competition for ticket sellers, concertgoers, venues and others in the entertainment industry.”

Even as the company deals with the lawsuit, it still touts the success of its “On the Road Again” program. As of March, On The Road Again has distributed tens of millions of dollars to more than 4,000 artists, with more than 70 club venues participating in the program, Live Nation said in a press release.

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“We are proud to continue our strong momentum on the road,” said Michael Rapino, President and CEO of Live Nation Entertainment. “Supporting club artists enhances the future of music.”

More than 300 artists performing at two North Texas venues have received benefits from the program, Owen said in an email.

According to a press release, Live Nation plans to continue the On the Road Again program but has not set an end date.

Arts Access is an arts journalism partnership powered by The Dallas Morning News and KERA.

This community-funded journalism initiative is supported by Better Together Fund, Carol & Don Glendenning, City of Dallas OAC, Texas Community Foundation, University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas Foundation, Eugene McDermott Fund Association, James & Gayle Halperin Foundation, Jennifer and Peter Altabef and Meadows Foundation. The News and KERA retain full editorial control over Arts Access news.

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