Live Nation is entering the ticketing business. The live music giant has struck a long-term agreement with CTS Eventim, the Bremen, Germany-based ticket marketer and promoter, to launch a worldwide ticketing business, with effect from Jan. 1, 2009.

Through the initiative, unveiled today, Live Nation will exclusively license the Eventim platform in North America, while Eventim will provide back office ticketing services in the United Kingdom and ticketing services throughout Europe. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In a statement, Live Nation president/CEO Michael Rapino described the development as "a monumental step forward in the evolution of Live Nation into a next generation music company."

Rapino continued, "Eventim is the most technologically sophisticated ticketing platform in the world. Live Nation will use its most important asset, the concert ticket, to build artist careers and customer relationships, forge innovative sponsorship deals, create a fan and artist friendly secondary ticketing platform and provide a ticketing alternative for third-party venues. We believe that our partnership with Eventim will allow us to execute on this transformational vision."

Live Nation notes that the new ticketing platform will allow it to control customer data to create "enhanced ticket-based concert products," and capitalize on expanded distribution channels and sponsorship opportunities.

Meanwhile, Ticketmaster will handle ticketing for Live Nation's venues and thousands of events through the end of 2008. The contract between Ticketmaster and Live Nation dates back to 1998 and Live Nation's predecessor, SFX Entertainment. (Venues acquired as part of Live Nation's House of Blues acquisition last year are contracted with Ticketmaster through 2009.)