Ooh the 360° Deal – seen within the music industry as the “saviour”
and the way ahead for all the labels. Declining sales would be bolstered by a
share in tour, merchandise, royalties – as well as a combination of other
assets (marketing, promotion and distribution) seemed like the way ahead.
Failed attempts by the majors to push through
their 360 deals were eclipsed by the might Live Nation. A company formed by Mike Cohl and had other dignitaries such as
Bob Ezrin, Bob Cahill and Bill Hein at their helm created a stir by signing
massive multi-million $$$$ deals with the likes of Madonna, Jay-Z, Nickelback
and claimed “Live Nation is the future of the
Unfortunately the investors decided that in fact signing
multi-million $$ deals without the guarantee of distribution of the recorded
content along with the questions around the lifespan of the artists signed, meant
that you were back at the mercy of the majors – who already failed at their 360’s
and as such would (and have been) demanding a bigger slice of the licence
The way ahead therefore was to create and distribute Live
Nation Recordings – where Ezrin & co would head up this venture of digital
distribution and physical distribution to key retailers (Eagles and Wall Mart) that could push via
mass adoption – thus avoiding the majors all together.
In a twist with new CEO Michael Rapino looks like this will
not be the case and the end of the dream looks near – as Rapino may need to go
back with cap in hand for the next Nickelback album to Warners to fulfil the
work that Live Nation was supposed to do.
The industry now even more looks to how and where the next “saviour”
will be – Live Nation have to hope that the ticket and merchandising sales of
Madonna’s Hard Candy Tour can start to roll in some of the $$ already spent and
get her in the studio and out on the road as quick as possible.
Only problem is that most of the artists are aimed at the
older CD buying market and not at the next generation – Madonna isn’t getting
any younger and can’t expect her to crank out the traditional: album>tour>album>tour, bless her she is in her
So what next – Live Nation do a 180°, drop their 360° and end
up as another Ticketmaster with massive debts to artists that 10 years ago may
have commanded and demanded the same figure that Live Nation recently paid –
maybe – but Rapino will not want any additional overheads and will want to
outsource as much as he can!
Interesting times ahead maybe the new strap line will read: “Live
Nation is outsourcing the future of the music business”