NIVA Responds to Live Nation’s Artist Outreach Initiative

Earlier this week, Live Nation announced the On The Road Again program in an alleged attempt at helping emerging bands get back on the road. But the massive conglomerate have gotten their share of flack, and The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) released a statement that very politely calls BS.

This initiative, which was announced on September 26, would give “developing artists” a $1,500 stipend for gas and travel if they perform at venues that are part of the program.

This immediately calls to mind several issues, including the fact that these venues often are bigger and harder to get booked at, and that this only helps them create a monopoly on stages. NIVA succinctly tells the company to take a long walk off a short pier in their official statement:

“Temporary measures may appear to help artists in the short run but actually can squeeze out independent venues which provide the lifeblood of many artists on thin margins. Independent venues and promoters are investing in and elevating up-and-coming artists every day, and NIVA is supporting those efforts nationally. The initiative announced yesterday may seem like a move to follow the lead of some independent venues. It is not that.

“Instead, it appears to be a calculated attempt to use a publicly-traded conglomerate’s immeasurable resources to divert artists from independent venues and further consolidate control over the live entertainment sector. Such tactics threaten the vitality of small and medium-sized venues under 3000 capacity, many of which still struggle to keep their doors open.

“Independent stages, where the majority of artists, musicians, and comedians start their careers, are small businesses and nonprofits. They are continually facing rising costs, increased deceptive ticketing practices in the resale market, and ongoing challenges following the global pandemic. Our stages are critical to the live entertainment ecosystem and local economies, and they must survive.

“The economics of touring must drastically improve for artists and independent venues. There has to be a better way. NIVA will continue to support artists and empower independent venues as we collectively find it.”

This well-worded statement is basically a formalized version of the comments that have been floating around on the internet all day, so it will be interesting to see how Live Nation respond and if they go forward with the program.

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