After months of back and forth, the Rolling Stones have left Guy Hands’ EMI for Vivendi’s Universal Music Group. Universal gets the band’s catalogue stretching back to the 1970s (most of the earlier stuff belongs to Abkco Music), which is nice. It also gets the rights to release new music, which doesn’t mean much, since the Stones haven’t had a new hit since… anyone?
But the band isn’t giving up its most lucrative income stream – its tour business. At one point the Stones appeared interested in doing a mega-deal with concert promoter Live Nation, but Live Nation (LYV) has gotten hammered over its mega deals, and Michael Cohl, the Live Nation exec who worked closely with the Stones for many years, got booted last month.
So how big a deal is this for both labels? Enough for both of them to lob insults at each other via press release. Key quotes:
Universal, quoting the Stones: “‘Universal are forward thinking, creative and hands-on music people. We really look forward to working with them.” Translation: Guy Hands is a soulless private equity guy. Universal boss Doug Morris has written songs, plays the piano and understands the delicate psyche of musicians. Also, he paid.
EMI: “EMI Music will only ever conclude mutually beneficial agreements with its artists.” Translation: Have you people seen what the music business looks like these days? We’re not overpaying.
Full dueling press releases below.
ROLLING STONES TO UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP IN LONG-TERM, WORLDWIDE RECORDING DEAL
The Rolling Stones and Universal Music Group have signed an exclusive, long-term, worldwide recording agreement.
The pact covers future albums by the Rolling Stones and the single most iconic catalogue in rock & roll, including such landmark albums as “Sticky Fingers,” “Exile On Main St.” and “Black And Blue,” and such global anthems as “Brown Sugar,” “Angie,” “It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll” and “Start Me Up.”
New recordings by the Rolling Stones will be released by Universal Music Group’s Polydor label through UMG companies around the world.
The Stones commented, “‘Universal are forward thinking, creative and hands-on music people. We really look forward to working with them.”
Full digital and physical rights are part of the agreement, and Universal Music Group will begin planning an unprecedented, long-term campaign to reposition the Rolling Stones’ entire catalogue for the digital age.
In March, Universal Music Group released the soundtrack album from “Shine A Light,” director Martin Scorsese’s film of the Rolling Stones’ acclaimed 2006 performance at the Beacon Theatre in New York. The album has been a major worldwide hit.
‘EMI Group wishes the Rolling Stones well in their new venture and looks forward to a continuing relationship with the band through their long-term agreement with EMI Music Publishing.
EMI Music will only ever conclude mutually beneficial agreements with its artists.’