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Live Nation Labs closes

By | Published on Wednesday 7 January 2015

Live Nation

This is 2015, in case you hadn’t noticed, and if there’s one thing we don’t need in this bold new year it’s labs. I mean, labs, who needs them? Not me, not you, not anyone, that’s who. And certainly not a leading live music giant.

Which is presumably why Live Nation Labs is no more, according to various sources. Yes, the live music firm has seemingly wound up its digital innovations unit which was created when it bought online metrics firm BigChampagne in 2011.

It was thought the Labs would help Live Nation capitalise on the phenomenal database of music consumers it acquired when it merged with Ticketmaster in 2010 by developing and/or acquiring clever digital and data tools for use in the live, music and entertainment industries.

Some interesting acquisitions and projects followed, though it’s not clear how fruitful the venture has been overall, given the multi-million purchase of Big Champagne required to kick the whole thing off (widely reported as $30 million, though one source told Billboard it was closer to $12 million, but still a sizable investment).

Some insiders say that the Labs project was never really embraced by Live Nation at large, and especially the firm’s existing digital departments that saw it as a threat, which may have hindered its efforts to create new platforms to be utilised by the tours, events and artists Live Nation owns and represents.

All that said, information about the closure of Labs is currently minimal. We do know that Big Champagne co-founder Eric Garland and a key exec at the digital unit Ethan Kaplan both departed last month after their soon-to-expire contracts were not renewed. Big Champagne’s other founder Joe Fleischer will seemingly stay with Live Nation, though most Labs employees will be moved to other parts of the business, mainly within Ticketmaster.

Meanwhile, according to Digital Music News, one of Live Nation Labs’ acquisitions – EDM service Boomrat – will be merged in with the online operations of Live Nation-allied EDM franchise Insomniac.