Wall Street questions Madonna's relevance

Ahead of the Bell: Live Nation, Madonna

NEW YORK — Live Nation Inc. on Thursday is expected to provide
commentary on a high-profile partnership with Madonna, though one
analyst warned that the Material Girl's popularity may fade with time.

In October, Live Nation and Madonna revealed plans to share future
music and music-related revenue from the Madonna brand, albums,
touring, merchandising, among other sources. The deal reportedly cost
the company about $120 million, and Madonna will receive an $18 million
signing bonus and partial stock compensation.

Morgan Joseph & Co. analyst David Kestenbaum said many on Wall
Street have been in the dark regarding financial details of the deal,
but expects Live Nation to provide an update Thursday.

Kestenbaum said the deal bodes well for Live Nation's chance to
accumulate more artists, but still questioned the longevity of
Madonna's notoriety as a pop star now that she's nearing 50.

"We still have questions regarding returns on Madonna, specifically
on her popularity longevity and Live Nation's related advance payment
schedule for her talent," Kestenbaum wrote in a client note.

Kestenbaum said if Madonna is unable to live up to her persona, her CD sales and touring tickets may be affected.

"While we do not discredit the artist's high-profile name, we are
slightly cautious of her reliance on high-action, performance-oriented
concerts versus an act that is more musically relevant regardless of
age," Kestenbaum wrote.


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