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“The paradigm in the music business has shifted and as an artist and a business woman, I have to move with that shift."
—-Madonna on new deal with Live Nation


Superstar Defection from Record Label Marks “Revolutionary Global Music Partnership”

Another one bites the dust.

In a deal that marks the emergence of a brand-new industry model and the further crumbling of the old-line recorded music business, Madonna has entered into an “unprecedented global partnership” with concert giant Live Nation as the founding artist in its newly established Artist Nation division.

The announcement was made by Live Nation President/CEO Michael Rapino and the aptly named Material Girl after the completion of the deal broke in Wall Street Journal several weeks ago, though rumors of the pairing had heated up for months.

“The paradigm in the music business has shifted and as an artist and a business woman, I have to move with that shift,” commented Madonna. “For the first time in my career, the way that my music can reach my fans is unlimited. I've never wanted to think in a limited way and with this new partnership, the possibilities are endless. Who knows how my albums will be distributed in the future? That's what's exciting about this deal…everything is possible. Live Nation has offered me a true partnership and after 25 years in the business, I feel that I deserve that.”

Unh-hunh… She used the word paradigm.

“Madonna is a true icon and maverick as an artist and in business,” stated Rapino. “Our partnership is a defining moment in music history. I am thrilled that Madonna, who is also now a shareholder in our company, has joined with us to create a new business model for our industry. Bringing all the varied elements of Madonna's stunning music career into the Artist Nation and Live Nation family, moves her future and the future of our company into a unique and extraordinary place. And now maybe I can get tickets to one of her shows."

The partnership encompasses all of Madonna's future music and music-related businesses, including the exploitation of her brand, new studio albums, touring, merchandising, fan club/web site, DVDs, music-related television and film projects and associated sponsorship agreements. This arrangement will address all of Madonna's music ventures as a total entity for the first time in her career.

Live Nation Chairman Global Music Division/CEO Arthur Fogel, who has produced the artist's last three worldwide tours with the company, which generated close to $500 million in the last six years commented: “Madonna is without a doubt one of the most fiercely original artists in history. It is a great opportunity for Live Nation and Artist Nation to build upon our years of success with Madonna as a touring artist.”

Artist Nation was created to partner with artists to manage their rights, grow their fan bases and provide a direct connection to fans through the global distribution platform and marketing proficiencies that have made Live Nation the world’s largest live music company. Headed by the division's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Cohl, Artist Nation will look to maximize additional revenue streams including recorded music, merchandise, studios, media rights, digital rights, fan club/website and sponsorship divisions.

Commented Madonna co-manager Guy Oseary: “I've been fortunate enough to work with Madonna for half my life. She has always encouraged me and set a great example for me to push the boundaries to reach our full potential. This partnership exemplifies just that.”

Her co-manager Angela Becker, added, “The partnership and vision for the future that Artist Nation along with Live Nation presented to us assured me that this is the ideal home for Madonna. It is with great trust and optimism that we collectively move ahead together.”

About her old label, Warner Bros., to whom she still owes two albums, including a greatest hits collection. Madonna said: “My time with them has been great. I appreciate their hard work and value the many relationships I have developed over the years with the label in the U.S. and around the world. I have an album coming out with them next year and I'm excited about it. We still have work to do together.”

Now, it will be interesting to see what becomes of Madge's longtime spokeswoman, veteran WB publicity doyenne Liz Rosenberg, who will undoubtedly follow her out the door when she leaves.