Live Nation has reached "an agreement in principle" for a 12 year global relationship with U2, who will join the company's Live Nation Artists roster. U2 and Live Nation Artists will collaborate on touring, merchandising, and the band's website, U2.com. U2's longstanding relationship with Universal Music for recording and publishing is not affected by the deal.
By leaving out recording and publishing, U2 utilizes the concert giant's strengths without joining it in uncharted waters as Madonna did with her recent full 360 Live Nation deal.
In expanding the scope of its activities beyond touring, Live Nation Artists hopes to expand an artist's other revenue streams. The company already services more than a thousand artists with an array of services including global touring, merchandise and licensing (via LN owned Signatures Network, Anthill, and TRUNK, Ltd.), sponsorship and strategic alliances, recorded music, studios, media rights, digital rights, fan club/websites (UltraStar, Musictoday), and marketing and creative services (Tour Design). All the services are designed to strengthen and monetize the artist to fan connection.
"We've been dating for over 20 years now, it's about time we tied the knot," said U2's Bono. "With regards to U2.com..."
"...we feel we've got a great website, but we want to make it a lot better. We want a closer, more direct relationship between the band and its audience and Live Nation has pledged to help us with that."
"U2 has created some of the greatest rock music of all time and their career has been uniquely successful," said Michael Cohl, Chairman of the Board of Live Nation and Chief Executive Officer of Live Nation Artists. "It has long been our intention to consolidate and extend our relationship with U2, so this is a very exciting deal for us. The band has always been forward thinking and as one of our original and most successful artists, we are delighted to be able to work with them for many years into the future."
Arthur Fogel, Chairman of Live Nation's Global Music Division and Chief Executive Officer of Global Touring, who has produced every U2 tour since PopMart in 1997, said, "Our long relationship with U2 has endured and flourished over the years. This is an opportunity to move forward with them while building on the past, utilizing our unparalleled global marketing platform to expand U2's universe into the future."
Paul McGuinness, U2's Manager said, "U2 are doing their best work right now, on record and in concert. The opportunity to integrate U2 and Live Nation's vision of the future is a great extension of our established business and of our working relationship with Arthur Fogel and Michael Cohl, which started back in 1980 at the El Mocambo in Toronto."