LIVE & COMPANY: LiveCo CEO Brian Becker (front row, second from right) joins his LiveCo team at a company retreat Jan. 30. From left to right, Shane Quick, Premier Productions; Tim Ward, LiveCo; Jacob Reiser, Rush Concerts; Paul Meloche, Icon Concerts; Mark Maluso, BASE Entertainment; Becker; Mark Dinerstein, Live Co; Michael Pugh, Premier Productions; Dale Head, LiveCo and Bradley Jordan, Peachtree Entertainment. (Photo courtesy LiveCo)
Five leading U.S. independent promoters have consolidated as LiveCo to develop new live events, artists and attractions, as announced exclusively by Pollstar on Jan. 31. Under the leadership of CEO Brian Becker, BASE Entertainment, Premier Productions, Icon Concerts, Rush Concerts and Peachtree Entertainment are part of the new venture with financial backing by Waterland Private Equity.
LiveCo operating brands and verticals are led by Michael Pugh and Shane Quick (Premier Productions), Paul Meloche (Icon Concerts), Jacob Reiser (Rush Concerts), Mark Maluso (BASE Entertainment), and Bradley Jordan (Peachtree Entertainment), along with a team of corporate executives and operating managers from across the industry to advance LiveCo’s growth and acquisition objectives.
The company works with leading talent and productions to present events featuring artists spanning genres including country, comedy, magic, faith/Christian contemporary music, family entertainment, variety, and festivals. Among the names currently working with the team are Jimmy O. Yang, Criss Angel, Elevation Nights, Coco Melon Live, Jo Koy, Dude Perfect, Cody Johnson, Zach Bryan, MercyMe, For King & Country, and Gabriel Iglesias.
While the combination of these brands and talent represents a full complement of live entertainment options, LiveCo intends to build and expand existing partnerships with entertainment platforms across the industry to create new, innovative projects.
“The owners of those companies are now partners of LiveCo,” Becker explains of the new company’s structure. “Waterland is the private equity and strategic partner, and they provide the initial capital In order to supply some capital to all of the companies that are selling Into this company. All of the individual companies have sold into LiveCo in exchange for cash and stock in the new company.”
Becker has served as CEO of BASE Entertainment and Clear Channel Entertainment, as well as COO of SFX, and tells Pollstar formation of the company was two years in the making and differs from previous consolidation efforts.
The partners will continue to operate their predecessor companies under the LiveCo umbrella and utilize their established brands, with regional offices in Los Angeles, Nashville, Las Vegas, and Houston.
“I’m involved from the corporate side to make sure that we all follow the same path in terms of the strategies and the opportunities that we have,” Becker says. “Our partners will run their businesses as they have, with the added benefit of being part of a larger organization that provides some efficiencies, some investments and things like software and add the ability to maximize relationships with venues and artists and other promoters.”
LiveCo has developed and continues to enhance proprietary software and production resources. Having regional offices in key live entertainment markets across the country will assist in LiveCo’s mission to cater to existing talent, cultivate rising stars, and develop new content, venues, and marketplaces.
Quick has built a faith and family entertainment powerhouse at Premier Productions, which finished 2022 at No. 34 on Pollstar’s Worldwide Top 100 Worldwide Promoters list with 1,543,529 tickets sold and $69,285,129 grossed. He says his partnership with LiveCo enables his team to expand its efforts to reach even more people.
“We’ve always felt like we could make a greater impact on this business and on people when we partner with others,” Quick says. “Premier has always had a lot of great partners out there and we’re excited to continue and grow, build our team and go after our goals of reaching more and more people and making a positive impact. I think with a lot of us coming together, we’re just pooling our resources. We are a company that has always been very goal-oriented and we’ve never had a year that we didn’t grow. And we feel like there’s enough meat on the bone for all of us out there.”
Paul Meloche of Icon Concerts has seen his company grow from a small comedy promoter based in Southern California to reach No. 49 for 2022 on Pollstar’s Worldwide Top 100 Worldwide Promoters chart, with 711,542 tickets sold and gross of $44,094,329. Among Icon’s successes last year was two sold-out nights at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles with Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias. He sees the partnership as an opportunity for growth, as well as to develop young comedy talent.
For Meloche, joining the LiveCo venture was a no-brainer.
“For us, it was another opportunity to grow. We’ve been working pretty well independently and will continue to,” Meloche says. “We’re working for that as a strategy — I sat down with them and I thought, ‘That’s pretty interesting.’ And I did say that I definitely had the same vision – every company that came in … has the same vision. We were all independent, gave a lot of heart, and we’ll always put the artist first.”
He adds that Icon has been a success in its own right and has established itself “with our own vertical, right within comedy. We were defined because of it. And I think that with more money and more resources, [the LiveCo venture] allows us to scale to another level. It would have taken years to [acquire] those resources. And also it comes with a lot of knowledge; it’s a core of knowledge that I couldn’t have just called on. And now I have and I have a team and a resource … where we can discuss things and make things more efficient within our own vertical as well as the entire company.”
Becker says the company is on the lookout for likeminded companies to join LiveCo.
“We are looking to continue to make acquisitions. Our criteria is, of course, we’re looking for quality companies that feed into the confidence of the genres that we think are important, and that we can bring value to. We’re very specific to the areas of business we would operate in. And the third and perhaps the most important criteria for a young company is that we are looking to associate with managers and owners who are best in class, if you will.
“Our goal is to make a difference in specific areas of the live event space,” Becker continues. “By being able to focus in on key strategic genres where we see tremendous value and room for growth, and delivering a personalized strategy, we can create exciting new opportunities for both performers and fans.”