Recent reports that AEG Live, the concert promotion division of Anschutz Entertainment Group, is seeking a major label to buy a minority stake in the company is “not a new story,” according to AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips.
“We’ve been approached by every one of the majors, who are trying to re-jigger their business model to include more rights and revenue streams from the artists they’re in business with, the so-called ‘360 deals,’” Phillips tells Billboard.biz. “Obviously, one of the places [for the labels] to go would be us, because we’re not competing with them in the same way that Live Nation does.”
Phillips says “these conversations have been ongoing,” and date back at least a couple of years, and adds that AEG Live is already “actively engaged with all of the record companies” whenever they promote a tour by one of their artists. “As far as some kind of a merger or more strategic relationship with any one of the majors, nothing new has transpired,” he says.
Asked if any label had an edge as these talks progress, Phillips says no. “In order for someone to have an edge we would have to be much further down the road with any one of them,” he says. “It’s very exploratory.”
In addition to the cash influx and broadening AEG Live’s influence across more music platforms, a partnership with a label would bring “a good partner in the music space and bring the ability to tie together the various aspects of an artist’s career and market them better,” Phillips says. “New music could be promoted more effectively with the tour with tickets, as we’ve done in the past, starting with Prince.”
On an unrelated topic, asked how AEG Live was proceeding with the ticketing rights granted in the DOJ’s approval of the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger, which grants AEG the right to use and white label Ticketmaster ticketing technology, Phillips says, “Right now we’re exploring all of our options and waiting to bring an executive on board that will lead the effort as soon as he’s free.” He says he expects an announcement in that regard within the next three or four months.