What Do Music’s Corporate Bosses Make? All Eyes on Live Nation

BEN SISARIO/ NY Times 04/25/12

When the Warner Music Group was sold last year for $3.3 billion, observers of the music industry lost an important resource: as the last stand-alone, publicly traded major record company, Warner offered valuable insight into the economics of the business through its detailed quarterly accounting statements.

But Live Nation Entertainment, the concert and ticketing giant that includes Ticketmaster, still reports its numbers as a public company. And among its most closely scrutinized figures are the salaries of its top executives, which the company reported on Wednesday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Compensation for several of the company’s executives declined in 2011, but Irving Azoff, the longtime industry power broker who is Live Nation’s executive chairman, had an increase in pay of more than 50 percent, thanks largely to Live Nation’s buyout of his management company.

Mr. Azoff made a total of $34.6 million last year, $25.3 million of which was related to the takeover of his company, Front Line, which manages more than 250 artists, including the Eagles, Christina Aguilera, Van Halen and Journey. Excluding that deal, Mr. Azoff’s compensation, including salary, bonus and stock awards, was $9.3 million.

Michael Rapino, Live Nation’s president and chief executive, made $11.9 million in 2011, down about 25 percent from the year before. Nathan Hubbard, the chief executive of Ticketmaster, made $4.1 million, down from $5.7 million in 2010. Mr. Hubbard was not paid a cash bonus in 2010, but received a $2 million bonus in 2011; last year Mr. Azoff and Mr. Rapino each made $3 million less in bonuses than they had the year before.

After a rocky 2010, when its concert ticket sales declined 10 percent and the company had a net loss of $228 million, Live Nation recovered slightly in 2011. Last year,

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