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...

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.

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