Live Nation Entertainment and Universal Music Group today announced the formation of a broad-based strategic partnership.
Live Nation Entertainment's Front Line Management Group division and UMG will launch a joint-venture management company "aimed at managing and strengthening artists and their brands through a variety of worldwide sponsorships, strategic marketing campaigns and brand extension opportunities," the companies said in a press release. The partnership will be managed by Front Line and "will focus on developing direct-to-consumer bundling initiatives for select UMG artists in key markets around the world that bring together concert tickets and a variety of music products with artist websites," the release continues. In addition, ticketing and bundling products will be handled by Live Nation Entertainment's Ticketmaster division.
The news of this new relationship begs the question as to whether this relationship could potentially be expanded to include JVs with UMG's Bravado, the only merchandising firm that competes on a level with Live Nation Merchandise, and whether UMG might partner with Live Nation to release records under Live Nation's multi-rights deals with artists such as Madonna.
In a statement, Irving Azoff, Executive Chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and Chairman and CEO of Front Line Management Group, commented: "This is an unprecedented partnership that unites the world's top music artists with the world's leading artist management, live entertainment, event ticketing and sponsorship resources to drive innovation across our industry. We see tremendous opportunities to work together to create a broad range of products built on the power of music and the direct connection between artists and fans. We look forward to working closely with Lucian Grainge and the talented UMG team in this new and exciting chapter of the music industry."
Grainge, chairman and CEO of UMG, commented: "Together with Irving and Michael, we are creating a series of new platforms and global direct-to-consumer initiatives that will further expand the presence of our artists in this evolving marketplace while providing music fans with even more flexibility in how they consume music. Our artists and their music are at the heart of everything that we do, and by leveraging our combined skills, strengths and global reach with that of Live Nation Entertainment, our management companies, artists and their fans will benefit immeasurably."