Today, music fans worldwide attend concerts and festivals in the shadow of tragedies such as the Las Vegas shooting. These events have rocked the public and the music industry, and their impact will be felt for years to come.
According to Richard Patti, industry leaders like Live Nation continue to do everything they reasonably can to ensure that no one endures such experiences ever again. As Live Nation’s senior vice president and associate general counsel, Patti deals with a wide array of security-related legal issues to help ensure that the company is more prepared than ever to protect every member of the music concert community.
“Even before the Las Vegas shooting, we had extensive security protocols in place as a result of the occurrence of terrorism worldwide,” Patti says. “And in my role as counsel at Live Nation, it’s been vital to keep up with the relevant laws enacted after 9/11 and the evolving guidelines to ensure that companies take the appropriate, commercially reasonable steps to protect people.”
Live Nation’s portfolio includes the operation or booking of at least 150 venues in the United States alone. Even before the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, he says, the company was already meeting or exceeding both industry and legal standards for maximizing the safety of the concert experience at its buildings and of the artists, fans, and staff who come together to create the event.
“The Las Vegas shooting was a catastrophic incident,” Patti says. “Though heartbreaking, such incidents—once the dust settles—also often present an opportunity to reevaluate, and we have continued to update, enhance, refine, and improve our approach in preparation for any Live Nation event. We will always strive to do all that we reasonably can to prevent attacks and to protect the lives and safety of all those involved in the show while preserving the spirit of the performance.”
As the leading live entertainment company in the world, Live Nation’s legal and operational strategy includes engagement of outside experts on security risk management and expanded coordination with the authorities at all levels. But as Patti points out, physical protection is only one side of the security coin; these days, the other side is virtual.
Currently, he says, Live Nation is close to completing a “complete overhaul” of its e-discovery and data management legal protocols to ensure the protection and appropriate preservation of sensitive consumer data, business records, and communications.
“Privacy, data protection and data management are a serious concern, and the trend has only been on the increase in recent years,” Patti emphasizes. “We want to make sure that we have the right staffing and resources in place to keep up with the latest technologies and standards in that area.”
One of the most important new legal standards is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). “In short, it’s a law that provides for consumer rights in the handling of their personal information by companies that collect and utilize such data,” Patti explains. “It sets out certain obligations for those who hold the data with regard to how it is to be protected and affords certain rights to consumers if they wish to find out about their data or have the business delete it altogether.”
Several other states and the federal government are already looking into adoption of similar laws, Patti says.
“CCPA follows enactment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the similar European version of the framework,” Patti notes. And because Live Nation does substantial business in both the United States and Europe, the company as a whole has been prepared for many years to comply with a law like the CCPA.
“We are still, of course, devoting serious attention to the law and tracking its evolution,” Patti says. “Government officials in California have noted their expectation to see tweaks made to the law in the coming months and years, and we need to make sure that we keep up with all those changes as they happen.”
The evolution of consumer privacy laws is not the only change on Patti’s mind. Between his fourteen-year tenure at Live Nation and his three-plus years at its predecessor, Clear Channel Entertainment, Patti has been in the industry long enough to notice a few key trends.
Over the past decade, Patti says, the US has caught on even more to live music festivals, as opposed to single-artist concerts. Historically, Europeans have enjoyed live music more through the festival platform. “Festivals offer expanded ways in which fans can connect with multiple artists in a single setting,” he says. “There are some festivals that have always been popular to varying degrees in the United States, but we have been seeing a huge rise in their popularity in more recent years.”
Music festivals are a crucial component of the Live Nation concerts business as well as the industry as a whole, and Patti believes that it will only increase in popularity. But this means that companies like Live Nation will be tasked with providing security—physical and cyber—on a larger scale than ever have before.
To Patti, that responsibility goes hand in hand with an appreciation for the profound meaning that music festivals and concerts bring to the world.
“There’s just something about being a part of a crowd and sharing your love for the artist along with thousands of other fans who feel as you do,” he remarks. “Evermore, we need experiences that help us escape from the troubles of life. And I don’t think you can find an experience that generates more passion or more excitement than a live performance by your favorite artist.”
Richard Patti is proud of his company—and with good reason. Live Nation has been recognized by Forbes as one of the Best Employers for Diversity in 2020, named by People as one of the Top 50 US Companies That Care, and certified as a Great Place to Work for the past four years.
“As a member of the LGBTQ community, I am heartened to see such a welcoming environment,” Patti emphasizes. “It has made all the difference in attracting and retaining the best possible talent to serve the interests of the artists, the fans, and the music business itself.”
Greenberg Traurig LLP:
“Richard Patti is an inspiration to both his internal and external counsel. We are incredibly proud to see him recognized for his legal accomplishments and contributions to Live Nation.”
—Shari Heyen, Comanaging Shareholder—Houston; Paul Schindler, Shareholder; and Philip R. Sellinger, Comanaging Shareholder—New Jersey