Another exile on Main Street?
The latest rumor hitting the street is that the Rolling Stones are considering leaving EMI after 31 years and throwing their lot in with Live Nation with a "360 deal" that would incorporate the back catalog (which reportedly earns EMI about $6 million annually), touring income, merchandise and brand partnerships. A report in the British Sunday paper The Observer stated that the band was "just weeks away" from announcing a deal that could also see Universal records getting in on the act by licensing new versions of the catalog from Live Nation.
The Stones camp has denied the story, but, given the band's long-standing and extremely close relationship with Live Nation chairman Michael Cohl (who has produced all of the band's recent tours), it seems highly likely that this will be a done deal shortly.
The only potential spanner in the works is a reported unease amongst Live Nation's senior executives about its 360 strategy and whether the company has been signing up mega-acts too quickly. As we've said before, Live Nation is really going to have to learn to speak the language of brands and manage brand-related businesses if they are really going to get their money's worth out of these deals.