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“We’ve been dating for over 20 years now, it’s about time we tied the knot.”
——Bono

U2 SIGNS WITH LIVE NATION ARTISTS BUT STAYS WITH UMG

Expanded Relationship Includes Touring, Merch and Online Presence
Live Nation announced Sunday night that it has reached an agreement in principle to enter into a long-term deal with U2, as the two entities give the 360 deal a new twist, putting it somewhere between 270 and 180, metaphorically speaking.

The worldwide deal is for 12 years and an undisclosed amount of money. In a press release, Live Nation describes the new arrangement as a “collaboration” encompassing “a variety of the band’s global music enterprises including touring, merchandising, and the band’s website, U2.com.” What’s missing from this description? Well, records.

The announcement, emanating from Live Nation President/CEO Michael Rapino, partly substantiates a report earlier this year from Fox News columnist Roger Friedman, which was promptly debunked by manager Paul McGuinness in an email. Friedman’s source had claimed U2 wouldn't be continuing its recording and publishing relationship with UMG.

“We’ve been dating for over 20 years now, it’s about time we tied the knot,” said 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.”

Said Michael Cohl, CEO of Live Nation Artists and the parent company’s Chairman of the Board: “U2 has created some of the greatest rock music of all time and their career has been uniquely successful. 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.”

Added Arthur Fogel, Chairman of Live Nation's Global Music Division and CEO of Global Touring, who has produced every U2 tour since PopMart in 1997: “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.”

McGuinness had a comment as well, of course. “U2 are doing their best work right now, on record and in concert,” he said. “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.”

U2’s 11 studio albums have sold north of 140 million copies worldwide, as the band has forged a reputation as one of the best performing units ever.

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