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Live Nation Gets HARD

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. announced the acquisition of leading electronic music concert promoter and festival operator HARD Events. Since its creation in 2007, founder Gary Richards and his team have attracted top acts to headline their shows from Justice, Skrillex, Boys Noize, and Crystal Castles to some of today's newest cutting-edge electronic artists like Major Lazer, Knife Party and Gesaffelstein. Mr. Richards will continue to run HARD Events and will report to James Barton, President of Live Nation Electronic Music.

"Live Nation is committed to empowering the electronic dance space with resources and a network of some of the best talent in the industry. Hard Events joins a portfolio of electronic dance music and festival promoters and creators including Cream Holdings. We welcome Gary Richards and his team, and look forward to helping him continue to expand the reach of this dynamic genre for fans and artists alike," said Michael Rapino, President and Chief Executive Officer of Live Nation.

"Live Nation has put together a team unmatched in the industry and I am pleased to be joining as its most recent addition. I have known James Barton over the years and respect what he has built with the Cream brand. We look forward to working hand in hand with James and developing many opportunities to grow the electronic music platform on a global level," stated Gary Richards, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of HARD Events.

HARD Events has two popular festivals featured in the Los Angeles market, HARD Summer Music Festival and HARD Haunted Mansion. HARD Summer has expanded to a two-day festival in this year and will be held on August 3-4 at the Los Angeles State Historic Park. In 2011, as just a one-day event, the festival drew over 30,000 fans. HARD Haunted Mansion will be in Los Angeles in late October and historically draws 20,000 attendees.

HARD is the latest in a series of EDM-related acqusitions for Live Nation, and comes hot on the heals of the announcement of their acquisition of UK EDM promoter Cream. Other major promoters have expressed interest in the burgeoning genre as well, with media mogul Robert F. X. Sillerman, the man behind the 1990s roll-up of regional promoters that ultimately became Live Nation, purchasing promoter Donnie Disco Presents last month and announced he was on the lookout for more opportunities in the genre with a billion dollars to invest.

Some however, have noticed that the EDM gold rush appears to have some of the classical signs of an investment bubble and that the presence of corporate players in what has heretofore been a niche market may have negative consequences. Electronic music enjoyed a similar surge in popularity the late 1990s but proved to lack staying power with the public. EDM also faced scrutiny over the perception that events were often associated with drug use.

"E.D.M. has turned into a massively marketed cruise ship, and it’s sinking fast," the D.J. and producer Deadmau5 wrote on his Tumblr page. "All I’m trying to do is put on my life jacket and swim as far away from this shipwreck as fast as I can." -by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers