Are the Rolling Stones jumping ship to Live Nation from its longtime record label EMI? According to London’s Observer newspaper, the Stones are “close to clinching a deal with Live Nation” that would include marketing the band’s £3 million a year back-catalogue and future touring rights.
Stones spokesperson Bernard Doherty, however, quickly shot such speculation down, saying in a statement, “We are not in talks with Live Nation in connection with any record deal.”
Live Nation already has 360 degree deals with Madonna, reportedly worth $120 million, and Jay-Z, worth $150 million, through its Artist Nation division. The deals include tours, albums, merchandise and other revenue sources. Despite a recent feud between Chairman Michael Cohl and CEO Michael Rapino over artist signings, the company is still actively looking to sign more major acts.
Even if a move to Live Nation doesn’t materialize, Reuters reported, “It is probably safe to assume that the band will be walking away,” according to a source familiar with the situation who asked not to be named.
A red flag should have gone up after the Stones inked a one-album deal with Universal Records to release the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese’s Stones documentary, “Shine a Light,” last fall.
Private equity company Terra Firma, which took over EMI last year, has already lost two of its biggest artists — Sir Paul McCartney and Radiohead.