Live Nation bosses out of sync on strategy: report

NEW YORK Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:30pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A battle has broken out among Live Nation Inc's top executives over the concert-promotion company's strategy to reshape the music industry by making big, expensive deals with artists, the Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site on Wednesday.

Live Nation Chief Executive Michael Rapino has tried to slow the pace of multimillion-dollar deals with artists, while Chairman Michael Cohl wants to accelerate it by striking deals with as many as 15 more artists, the Journal reported.

Live Nation struck a $120 million deal with Madonna and a $150 million deal with Jay-Z, the paper reported. It has held talks for a similar deal with South American pop star Shakira, according to several people involved, though no agreement has been reached, the Journal said.

The disagreement between the two executives in recent weeks resulted in Cohl threatening to leave Live Nation, and the board at one point was prepared to intervene, the Journal reported.

The executives are speaking again and Cohl has changed his mind about leaving, the Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

A Live Nation spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Music companies are trying to sign up artists to such "360-degree" deals which can include recording, publishing, touring, digital and other rights. The deals are all-encompassing as a way for music companies to try to make money even as their traditional business of selling music is undercut by free, and often pirated, music on the Internet.

A 12-year global contract signed earlier this year with Irish rock band U2 includes merchandising and licensing rights, sponsorship and strategic alliances, digital rights, fan clubs and Web sites and other marketing and creative services.

(Reporting by Robert MacMillan; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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