Yesterday the UK’s Observer claimed that the Stones were on the verge of walking away from their problem-riddled label EMI and heading over to Live Nation, which has recently gone on a 360-deal-signing binge that is funneling lots of cash toward big-name artists like Madonna and Jay-Z in exchange for the rights to all of their music-related income streams. Like both those artists, the Stones have been hurting on the record-sales side of things as of late, with their newer studio albums being met by ever-greater indifference from the public–but in a twist, the Live Nation-Stones deal reportedly includes the rights for Live Nation to market the band’s lucrative back catalog. Stones flack Bernard Doherty told the press that reports of negotiations with Live Nation are false, but come on, what else is he going to say?
What’s most intriguing about this rumor surfacing is its timing. Live Nation made headlines last week after reports surfaced that the 360-heavy strategy was causing strife in the company’s upper echelons, with concert promoter Michael Cohl reportedly wanting to make as many as 15 more such deals while chief executive Michael Rapino urged caution in the face of a worsening economy. Ethan Smith noted that Cohl and the Stones actually had a pre-existing relationship in his description of the Cohl-Rapino showdown:
The battle that has played out in recent weeks was complicated by Mr. Cohl’s threat to take with him stars he says he brought to Live Nation over the years, including the Rolling Stones and U2. In the ensuing discussions, Mr. Cohl was reminded that his employment contract would bar him from competing with Live Nation for eight years if he left.
What if the leaking of this rumor was actually more about Live Nation corporate politicking than anything having to do with making Guy Hands squirm? I’m sure I’m not the only person who idly wondered this.
Stones move rocks Terra Firma [Observer]
Stones deny label move from EMI [Reuters UK]
Earlier: Live Nation’s 360 Deals Are Making Some Higher-Ups A Bit Dizzy
Earlier: The Rolling Stones Flee EMI For Universal’s Greener Pastures