A deal for Australian promoter Paul Dainty and Virgin Music to promote an 18-date North American Rolling Stones tour has fallen through, and on March 19 AEG Live stepped in to promote the shows, sources say. The Stones will still roll, and an announcement for the tour-which still hasn't been officially confirmed-will likely come before the end of the month. Sources say that a deal with Dainty/Virgin was in place, but the promoters couldn't come to financial terms with the band on a guarantee believed to be in the $80 million range. Dainty and Virgin ponied up an estimated $25 million to present the band's five 50th-anniversary shows late last year, and those shows grossed a total of $38.7 million and sold 73,702 tickets. While that would seem like a strong profit, margins on Stones shows are especially tight, given the huge production values and other show costs. A pay-per-view live broadcast from the Newark, N.J., show that was part of the deal did less-than-spectacular business, according to sources.

Online music service eMusic merged on March 18 with e-book distributor K-NFB Reading to form the new company Media Arc, which will "offer a comprehensive source of more than 17 million songs, 40,000 audio books and 600,000 e-books," according to a statement. EMusic and K-NFB will remain as operating units of the new company, the statement said. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. EMusic CEO Adam Klein said he would "move on" from his post at the company. In a statement, eMusic said, "As a new company, eMusic and K-NFB will leverage their combined technologies and expertise to create a consumer-centric interface that makes discovering, interacting with and purchasing all kinds of media content more accessible and seamless for consumers."

Hastings Entertainment cut its red ink in half for the year by posting net income of $1.2 million, or 15 cents per diluted share, on sales of $141.6 million, for the fiscal fourth quarter that ended Jan. 31. That performance contrasts with $8.4 million in losses in the prior year's fourth quarter, when sales were $153.1 million. The black ink in the fourth quarter helped Hastings significantly narrow its loss for the year to $9.3 million, or $1.14 per diluted share, on revenue of $462.5 million, from the $17.6 million loss, or $2.05 per share, the chain posted in the prior fiscal year when sales were $496.4 million. In a statement, Hastings chairman/CEO John Marmaduke attributed the 12.9% decline in sales to the growing digital delivery of home entertainment, rental kiosks and subscription-based services. Moreover, the company finished the year with three fewer stores while comparable-store sales declined 5.1% during the year.

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