Andre Lieberberg - Live Nation Live

22 Sept. 2017 @ Schmidtchen (Klubhaus St. Pauli)

Speaker: Andre Lieberberg (President & Managing Director, Live Nation GSA, DE)
Moderator: Gordon Masson (Editor, IQ Magazine, GB)

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André Lieberberg, President and MD of Live Nation GSA, was interviewed by IQ Editor Gordon Masson at Reeperbahn Festival about his introduction to music, business practices and experience under the Live Nation umbrella.

The executive got his first taste of the live music industry when witnessing thousands of people moving with the beat at a concert, and realizing his father’s job as head of promoter Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur was different. First show? U2, maybe Billy Joel. First record? Probably Kylie Minogue or Bros. His first conscious choice of music? Method Man’s Release Yo Delf.

After studying in the UK, Lieberberg joined the music department of his father’s company where his main task was finding new talent. Matt Schwarz joined a little bit later, and both men took care of all MLK bookings except the headliners.

He remained at MLK for 13 years before leaving for Live Nation in 2015 with his father. Ever since meeting with Live Nation boss Michael Rapino 15 years ago, his company has been the only one that Lieberberg has considered joining.

MLK’s mode of operation is described by Lieberberg as “always complacent, happy and content with what we do. Our only festival acquisition was SonneMondSterne. Marek’s philosophy was always to only do our own events.” His new employer’s mode of operation can be described as an “aggressive approach when pitching for a tour, but not one that aims to change the musical landscape in Germany.”

“Life on the Deathstar,” as Masson joked, is “different in many respects [but] the way we deal with our clients hasn’t changed,” said Lieberberg, who added that Live Nation places a lot more focus on content creation and brand partnerships for artists. In addition, the early hiring process contrasts with Marek’s stringent process, where “everyone had to go through a 60 minute interview before even being considered.”

Ultimately, “being able to grow and having someone in the back that can take the risk financially opens up a whole new world of possibilities,” said Lieberberg, especially in the cyclical music business. He estimates Live Nation’s market share in Germany to be 30% in rock and pop, and much lower in other genres. “Unless we hired another 500 people we couldn’t become the market leader across all categories.”

There is reportedly no ambition to buy every festival out there. “It’s about key partnerships. We are interested in continuing more partnerships with festivals in the next five years. It needs to fit on a human level. We want to partner, not take over. OpenAir Frauenfeld was a fantastic example of that and there will be more. We were aggressive before as a family business. Not so much now.”

Does Lieberberg not think he’s entering into competition with the independents, many of whom don’t operate on the same level as Live Nation? “There’s an AEG vs. Live Nation battle for worldwide tours, but not so much with indies,” he concluded.

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