Madonna to bolt Warner (UPDATE on leaving label)

Well it's not official yet, but the WSJ is reporting that she's close to signing up with Bev Hills concert promoter Live Nation in a $120 million deal. The 10-year
agreement, which seems mighty risky for any number of reasons (er,
Madonna is nearing 50), would involve cash and stock in exchange for
the rights to sell three albums, promote concert tours, sell
merchandise and license her name.
The move to Live Nation, which has
been rumored for a few months now, is the latest example of how much
power the major record labels have lost
. The Journal story notes that
Warner was so desperate that it enlisted Ticketmaster parent
IAC/Interactive to help counter Live Nation's offer.
The irony is
delicious; Live Nation dropped its ticket-sales contract with
Ticketmaster, presumably to go at it alone. From the Journal:

Traditionally, acts like Madonna would release their
recordings through a major record label and then make separate deals
for touring and merchandising with other companies. Now, however, all
the players in the music business -- labels, concert promoters and even
managers and ticketing companies -- are eager to make broad deals that
give them a piece of the whole pie by participating in revenue streams
such as endorsement deals between artists and advertisers, as well as
the sales of concert ticket and merchandise. Madonna, at 49 years old,
has managed to capitalize on those forces to make an extraordinarily
rich deal. According to people briefed on the deal, the package
includes a general advance of $17.5 million and advance payments for
three albums of $50 to $60 million.

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