Rap superstar Jay-Z, currently selling out arenas on tour with Mary J. Blige, is reportedly in negotiations with Live Nation on a blockbuster 10-year, total entertainment deal worth an estimated $150 million. The deal would include albums, touring, merchandising and licensing, and would resemble a similar, $120 million deal Live Nation inked with Madonna this past fall.
The New York Times is reporting that the Jay-Z deal includes an initial $25 million payment by Live Nation, another “general advance of $25 million that includes fees for his current [Live Nation-promoted] tour, and advance payment of $10 million an album for a minimum of three albums” over 10 years. In addition, there will be up to $20 million in payments for licensing, publishing and other rights, and Live Nation will contribute several million to the creation, overhead and acquisitions by a new division that will act as the umbrella organization for the venture, to be called Roc Nation.
All told, the deal stands as one of the most lucrative in the music business, and comes at a time when Live Nation is seeking to muscle its way further into the industry by signing stars and venues as it prepares to begin its own ticketing enterprise in 2009.
But, none of those deals are as big as the Jay-Z agreement, which Live Nation surely hopes will exceed the estimated $1 billion the Madonna deal could generate over the life of that contract. Whether it will or not remains to be seen as the music industry as a whole continues to grapple with sluggish CD sales and some tours failing to generate sufficient buzz.
In addition, Live Nation has its own troubles. The company has not entirely convinced Wall Street and other investors that its business model will thrive, and competition within the industry from other promoters and ticket companies remains high.
Jay-Z, however, is the kind of renaissance musical artist who could make it work. He transcends his chosen genre, branching out into owning a clothing line, night clubs and part of a sports team, the New Jersey Nets. “I’ve turned into the Rolling Stones of hip-hop,” he told The New York Times.
(The image accompanying this story is from HotelChatter.com)