October 28, 2005
Live 8 yields $12 million windfall
By Emmanuel LeGrand
LONDON (Billboard) - The Live 8 series of 10 free concerts
this past July were not meant to be fund-raisers, but they have
generated a surplus of more than $12 million, Billboard has
learned. The money will be put toward relief projects in
Organizers say total costs for the shows were in the region
of 10 million pounds. Revenue from sponsors, TV and DVD rights,
mobile phone texting and other such ancillary sources as
merchandising and photo rights not only helped offset the
production costs, but delivered extra income.
So says John Kennedy, one of the three trustees of Band Aid
Trust, the nonprofit charity set up 20 years ago in the wake of
the Band Aid project. The other two trustees are
musician/activist Bob Geldof and concert promoter Harvey
The key sources of revenue were EMI Music, which paid an
advance of $6 million for the DVD rights to the shows, and the
two main sponsors, AOL and Nokia, which each provided about $5
Worldwide TV sales of the shows brought in more than $2
million: The BBC paid 1 million pounds. Overseas DVD rights
brought in an additional 1.4 million euros.
GOODS STILL SELLING
Merchandising sales exceeded 1 million pounds and continue
generating income; Live 8-related products are still available
on the organization's Web site. Corporate hospitality at
London's Hyde Park concert brought in more than 500,000 pounds.
Book rights were sold for $420,000 and photo rights for
The trust also received proceeds from the mobile phone
texting the public used to apply for tickets and voice their
support for the "Make Poverty History" campaign. Kennedy says
more than 2.6 million pounds was raised through texting. From
these funds, 1.6 million pounds compensated the Prince's Trust,
which was to use Hyde Park for its annual fund-raiser, but
instead left the space to Geldof's initiative.
Live 8 was organized through the Band Aid Trust and its two
wholly owned affiliates, Live 8 Ltd. and Woodcharm Ltd. Kennedy
is chairman/CEO of industry trade body the International
Federation of the Phonographic Industry and was an
entertainment lawyer 20 years ago. He worked with Geldof on
Band Aid and has been a trustee of the charity since its
According to Kennedy, the main difference between Band Aid
and Live 8 was that the former was meant to raise funds to
address the famine in Ethiopia, while the latter was set up to
raise awareness about debt relief in Africa.
"Our intention was to cover our costs. We're not shy of any
surplus, but it was not the aim," Kennedy says. "After 20
years, Band Aid is still active, and we are still funding
projects -- this will simply help us fund even more projects."