Live Nation and Pharrell Williams
"We're in business together, and whether we lose a few million dollars or make a few million dollars, let's do this. If you think you can pull it off, I'm behind you." Michael Rapino, chief executive officer of Live Nation, the world's leading live entertainment company, expresses his support to Pharrell Williams, one of the music industry's biggest stars, and his long-time manager Ron Laffitte. It is December 2018, and Williams just pitched Rapino an idea for a music festival in Virginia Beach, Something In The Water. Williams is engaged in many endeavors - he is not only a chart-topping musician, but also a fashion designer, film and television producer, brand builder, and business consultant - that are brought together in his company, I Am Other, which is in a joint venture with Live Nation. Although Live Nation generally does not shy away from making big bets on its artists, Williams' festival idea is risky and has an unusually aggressive time table. Is Rapino right to lend his support to Williams' proposed festival? Are partnerships like the one it had formed with Williams' company I Am Other the way forward for Live Nation? And how can the company that dominates the live music space best continue to create value for artists and their managers?