Veteran heavy metal rock act Iron Maiden has ended its management contract with the Sanctuary Group after 27 years together.

Veteran heavy metal rock act Iron Maiden has ended its management contract with the Sanctuary Group after 27 years together.

Sanctuary co-founder Rod Smallwood is also leaving the company to manage the band at his new venture Phantom Music Management. He discovered the band in 1979 shortly after Sanctuary's launch in the late 1970s.

But the ties between Sanctuary, Smallwood and the band have not been totally severed. Sanctuary has appointed Smallwood as a consultant for an initial six months.

He and Iron Maiden are retaining Sanctuary's subsidiary Bravado to the handle the act's worldwide merchandising rights in a new long-term deal.

Moreover, the band has agreed for Sanctuary Records, currently the U.S. label for Iron Maiden's latest album "A Matter of Life And Death," to extend the current deal for developing the album further. "A Matter of Life And Death" peaked at No. 9 in the Billboard U.S. Top 200 album chart.

Sanctuary also retains the U.S. rights to the majority of Iron Maiden's back catalog.

Outside the United States, Iron Maiden is signed to EMI Records.

"Although we are obviously sad to see the band and Rod depart, from a management and company standpoint, we are delighted to be able to continue with the band long-term as their worldwide merchandiser and U.S. label," said Frank Presland, Sanctuary Group's CEO.

"Our label is also delighted to show what it can do by putting the band's new album in the Billboard Top 10 for the first time. And the Maiden catalog has always been our biggest seller in America."

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