It was announced earlier this month that the bankrupt SFX Entertainment, which owns Beatport, ticketing company Paylogic, music festivals Electric Zoo, Mysteryland, Spring Awakening, and Life in Color, is officially out of Chapter 11 and rebranded as ‘LiveStyle, Inc.’ SFX entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February due to hundreds of millions of dollars of debt. The company emerged from bankruptcy on December 2nd when former AEG Live’s chief executive, Randy Phillips, was officially named CEO and president. Phillips lead and restructured the company out of bankruptcy.
“Every time I said the name ‘SFX’ to someone, I got this negative reaction — people would make the sign of the cross,” Phillips says, when asked by BillboardBiz why he decided to change the name of the company. The company that made people grimace was founded by Robert F.X. Sillerman, who had success earlier in his career from buying and selling music venues as well as radio stations. Sillerman had purchased electronic promoters at huge prices to fold them into his company that received a valuation of more than $1 billion when it went public in October of 2013. His collection of EDM companies and festivals floundered causing SFX to collapse only 27 months later with a market value of less than $10 million.
Phillips joined the company after Sillerman had left with a clean break. Phillips promoted tours by Britney Spears and Justin Bieber as well as oversaw the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival while at the helm of AEG Live. Phillips originally joined SFX to guide the company through the bankruptcy process and initially led the executive search for Sillerman’s successor as SFX’s CEO, but decided to take the job when the company agreed to relocate its corporate headquarters from New York to Los Angeles.
Phillips says “we’re going to be a music company that specializes in electronic music.” Festivals like Mysteryland, which is held on Memorial Day weekend in New York, “will be broadened, more like Coachella,” he says. “A lot of rock ‘n’ roll these days sounds like electronic dance music — but it’s really just electronic music,” Phillips told the New York Post, wanting to distance his company from EDM and move closer to simply EM.
Phillips says the following about the collapse of SFX, “The problem was that it was put together too quickly — it was based on doing an IPO,” or initial public offering. Sillerman also “sold a story about sponsorship. But sponsorship has to be the icing on the cake — not the cake itself.”
LiveStyle is now owned by a variety of investors. LiveStyle will continue to run Beatport, which is now profitable after discontinuing its streaming service and returning to its original focus of downloads. SFX sold some of its assets during bankruptcy, but Phillips plans to keep the company in tact for now. “We have no plans to sell anything,” he says. “Now is the time to clean this up, make it function, and grow it.”