If Madonna leaves Warner Bros. for an all-encompassing $120 million deal with Live Nation—which, it is important to note, Live Nation would not confirm—the maneuver at the very least heralds the most ambitious move yet for Live Nation and a significant tilt in who holds the leverage in the music business.

But if reported numbers are correct, the profit margin still remains slim—even if Live Nation is now in the overall artist career business as opposed to just the touring biz.

Based on Billboard's analysis of published details of said deal—again, unconfirmed—the company might still find it tough to wind up in the black before a 10-year deal expires. And that's even if Madonna performs at retail and on the road at close to the level she's maintained in the past, and even if Live Nation can fully exploit the artist's globally recognized brand.

The deal, though, would follow through to the extreme on Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino's stated desire to form deeper and longer relationships with artists—relationships that extend well beyond one concert or tour. The new deal is likely driven by touring potential, but is far broader than any previous Live Nation undertaking. Published reports say Madonna would receive a mix of cash and stock in exchange for allowing Live Nation to distribute three studio albums, promote concert tours, sell merchandise and license her name.

Click here to read the full story, including the most likely behind-the-scene exec brokering the deal, a breakdown of the potential figures, what Live Nation could theoretically be earning from the deal, and the tipping point for profitability.

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