Live Nation Rolls Out Sweeping Global Initiative To Increase Diversity By 2025
By: Deborah Speer
Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino laid out an ambitious diversity initiative in a memo to the company’s global staff July 9, including plans to increase the numbers of women and people of color across leadership positions, its festival lineups and board of directors as well as increased investment in minority artists and vendors by 2025.
“Recent events in the U.S. and around the world have sparked overdue reflection on racism and discrimination in our societies, as well as here at Live Nation,” Rapino writes. “As the leader in live music, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to amplify the conversation around anti-racism and Black Lives Matter in order to be a part of the solution. We also recognize the need to expand our efforts across race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and other underrepresented groups.”
Rapino adds that Live Nation is committed to take steps to ensure employees, artists, and fans are valued, respected and treated equitably. “We commit to increasing diversity at every level of our company,” Rapino continues.”This will start at the very top with our Board of Directors, where we plan to nominate more Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) and women candidates as we strive towards having at least 30% of our directors be diverse by 2025. When it comes to our leadership representation (Director and above), we are setting representation goals on a country-by-country basis in order to acknowledge local dynamics and best serve each region”
In other goals, Rapino says the company intends to double its Black leadership representation in the United States and increase racially and ethnically diverse leadership to 30% by 2025. The company is to increase investment by at least $10 million globally in the next two years, and launch and expand development, hiring and promotion of Black and other underrepresented talent to bring its overall staff to parity across race in gender in each country in which Live Nation operates.
The plan calls for expansion of Future, formalizing mentorship programs and boosting career training and coaching opportunities, growing scholarship offerings other efforts to develop pipelines for more diverse hiring.Courtesy of Live NationLive Nation Diversity Commitments
“We commit to putting diversity center stage at our events around the world,” Rapino writes. “As the biggest economic driver for artists, we want to ensure live music continues to unlock opportunities for equity and prosperity, and we will keep taking steps to broaden the range of artists we promote around the globe.”
Rapino says Live Nation, over the past 10 years, has invested more than $300 million in music business ventures that empower Black artists and entrepreneurs, and will continue to do so, adding in festivals, tours and other programs that empower Black as well as Latin, female and other underserved groups. Live Nation is to increase spending with Black and minority-owned vendors, noting that it spends more $2 billion annually on staging and sourcing for shows from a global supply chain. “In the future, we will look for opportunities to support minority-owned business wherever possible,” Rapino says, “from stage lighting companies to our 401k investment managers, and more.”
The company will use its platform to amplify social justice causes, Rapino says. “Music has the power to shift perspective and drive change, and many of the artists we work with are at the forefront of the social justice conversation. Last year we helped bring concerts to over 40 countries and 100 million fans, and we vow to utilize our global platforms to increase awareness and engagement for artist causes. Once we are back to doing shows at scale, we will also be able to develop our own programs and initiatives that artists, brands, and fans can tap into, including championing voter registration on-site at venues and online as part of the ticket-purchase experience.”
The initiative includes corporate accountability measures, including anti-bias education training, global diversity data tracking, ongoing pay equity analysis, tying goals to leadership compensation, and establishing and Equity Accountability Board, all of which Rapino believes will help Live Nation become “a more actively anti-racist organization.”
In closing, Rapino writes: “This is a movement, not a moment. Rest assured these actions will continue to expand and evolve over time – especially when our concerts and revenue begin to ramp back up. Racism and inequality are systemic problems, and we must make this an ongoing dialogue in order to drive real, lasting change.
“Our ultimate goal is to be as representative as the communities and artists we serve. The core of our business is promoting, and we are committed to improving our promotion of diversity within our company and the world at large. I am confident that this will make us an even stronger team.”