Live Nation Inc has signed a 12-year global contract to handle the merchandising, digital and branding rights of U2, along with its touring. The deal comes just five months after Live Nation announced a comprehensive partnership with Madonna, which included her coveted recording rights.
But Live Nation said U2 will continue the band's long-term recording and publishing relationship with Universal Music Group, a unit of French media giant Vivendi.
"It's not a do or die situation that we have to be involved in the recordings," said Live Nation Chairman Michael Cohl in an interview with Reuters. "We'd prefer to, but it's not always available." The company would not reveal financial terms of the U2 deal.
The deal with Madonna, which included the recording rights, was estimated to be worth $120 million over 10 years including a three-album commitment after the artist submits her last album to her current music company, Warner Music Group.
Live Nation has been expanding its business model to develop more far-reaching and deeper relationships with artists beyond just handling their touring.
Its partnership with U2 will now include merchandise and licensing rights, sponsorship and strategic alliances, digital rights, fan club/Web sites and other marketing and creative services.