The pandemic crushed Live Nation last year, but the live music giant is ready for its comeback.

In a good news, bad news financial report, Live Nation got the bad news out of the way first.

It sure was ugly-bad last year, as the pandemic caused revenue for LN’s fourth quarter to plummet 92% year-on-year to just US$237.3 million, an all-time low.

For the full year, Live Nation posted US$1.86 billion in revenue, down 84% from the prior year.

With concerts scrapped across the northern hemisphere, ticketing revenue in Q4 was down 98%.

The only way from here is up.

“As we look back on 2020, it is clearly not the year anyone predicted, but I am very proud of how Live Nation has dug in and focused on turning this challenge into an opportunity to improve our business,” comments Michael Rapino, President and CEO of Live Nation Entertainment, in a statement.

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With most of the bad out of the way, LN is looking ahead to a restart for touring, much of which depends on the rollout of vaccines.

Fortunately, it’s full-steam ahead and the declines in COVID infections throughout most of the world, notes Rapino, “gives us even more confidence that a safe and meaningful return to shows will soon be possible.”

LN is eyeing a return to a new normal in 2022, if not before.

The pipeline for shows in 2022 is “much stronger than usual,” with almost twice as many major touring artists on cycle than a typical year, Rapino adds.

Without naming names, Rapino confirms about 45 major artists are booked for the road next year, against the usual 25. “And there remains plenty of scheduling availability at arenas, amphitheaters and stadiums to accommodate these additional tours,” he continues, “with over two-thirds of these venues’ nights unused by sporting events or major concerts in a typical year.”

Live Nation boasts a safety net of $643 million of free cash, which is bolstered by US$417 million of debt raised earlier in the year, and US$962 million of available debt capacity, all of which should be enough to fund operations until the expected return of concerts in the northern summer of 2021, with tickets going on sale earlier in the year.