Recurso: WSJ, ATU2

Como se había rumorado antes, U2 sigue los pasos de Madonna y firma un contrato de 12 años con LIVE NATION quien estará a cargo de la promoción de sus conciertos, mercancía, web site (incluyendo su fan club en U2.com), imagen y más. Esto es un golpe para agencias como Ticketmaster que vende boletos para conciertos e eventos alrededor del mundo. Todo fan de U2 sabe los problemas con Ticketmaster en cuanto a la venta de boletos a conciertos de U2. Live Nation es la compañía promotora con más ganancias en la industria y puede ser un gran paso para U2. Y eso de 12 años de contrato tambien es buena señal–eso asegura que U2 estará con nosotros por otra década. Ahora si, me pregunto, ¿por qué Paul McGuinness negó está transacción hace unos meses? Bueno, parece ser que hay U2 para rato. Aqui la noticia en inglés:

Promoter Expands Reach With U2
Live Nation, Preparing To Battle Ticketmaster, Signs Up Irish Band
March 31, 2008; Page B4

As it girds for a looming battle with IAC/InterActiveCorp’s
Ticketmaster, concert promoter Live Nation Inc. is looking to enlist
powerful allies. The latest to sign on: U2, which has reached a 12-
year deal giving the promoter exclusive rights to produce the Irish
rock band’s concerts, manufacture and sell its merchandise, license
its image and run its Web site and online fan club.

The situation highlights the shifting landscape of the concert
industry, as various players vie to expand their influence. Live
Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter by revenue, has said it
is parting ways with Ticketmaster, the biggest ticket seller, when
their partnership ends at the end of this year. Live Nation plans to
launch its own competing ticket service to sell seats to its own
concerts as well as events staged by others.

Live Nation has also acquired several companies that run Web sites and
sell merchandise for artists, and it is looking for artists to sign to
record deals like the one it entered last year with Madonna — a move
pitting it against record labels. Promoters, labels and ticketing
companies alike are looking for ways to expand their presence online,
by acquiring companies that market and promote music on the Web.

“It’s clear that the lines, or the silos, that were in place
historically are breaking down,” Arthur Fogel, Live Nation’s chairman
of global music, said in an interview. Many previously disparate parts
of the music business are being consolidated, he added: “Companies
such as us are best positioned to execute on that basket of rights.”

The U2 arrangement, which follows an even broader 10-year deal with
Madonna, would guarantee desirable inventory for the new ticketing
service, set to launch at the beginning of 2009.

Unlike Live Nation’s $120 million deal with Madonna, the U2 agreement
— which is to be finalized soon — doesn’t cover distribution of
recorded music or music publishing. For the same rights Live Nation is
getting from U2, the promoter paid Madonna about $70 million. Terms of
the U2 pact weren’t disclosed. U2 extended its record contract with
Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group late last year, according to people
familiar with the matter, and also has a long-term publishing deal
with Universal.

For U2, the arrangement represents a windfall that results ultimately
from Live Nation’s newly embattled position and its resulting need for
loyal allies. The promoter is effectively paying the band to lock in
the status quo: Live Nation or its predecessors have produced and
promoted every world-wide U2 tour since 1997, and a Live Nation
subsidiary already manages the band’s Web site and fan club.

Live Nation Chairman Michael Cohl said he considers Ticketmaster
“already our competition.” He added that long-term artist
relationships are one of two keys to the company’s ability to compete
effectively with its rival; the other key, he said, is building up
infrastructure like venues and subsidiaries that can execute
merchandise deals.

In preparing for this kind of battle, Mr. Cohl said, “one of the
things you do is start to position yourself in terms of the hardware,
and you try to position yourself in terms of the content. We’re trying
to line up as much of both as we consider meaningful and beneficial.”

Live Nation’s stock closed Friday at $11.83 in 4 p.m. composite
trading on the New York Stock Exchange, sliding 10 cents and coming in
at nearly half its closing price of $23.36 on Oct. 10, the day before
the Madonna deal became known.

Formed in Dublin in 1976, U2 remains one of the most potent live draws
in the world. Its most recent tour was the second-highest-grossing
concert tour in history, earning $389.4 million at the box office,
according to data from Billboard magazine. The Rolling Stones’ 2005-07
“Bigger Bang” tour took in $558.3 million. Live Nation promoted both.
U2’s record sales haven’t held up quite as well; 2004’s “How to
Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” wasn’t among the 10 best-selling albums in
the U.S. that year.

The deal may also offer ways for U2 to address problems that arose on
its last tour. The band offered members of its online fan club, who
paid $40 apiece to join, early access to tickets. But during the so-
called fan-club presales, many would-be buyers encountered frustrating
waits and a limited, expensive inventory comprising some of the worst
seats in the house.

Ticketmaster had a hand in the presale fiascoes, inasmuch as its
infrastructure couldn’t handle the surge of ticket requests that
flooded its computers. But people involved say the bigger problem was
that there were simply too many members in the club to provide them
all premium seats.

“We feel we’ve got a great Web site,” U2 lead singer Bono said in a
statement. “But we want to make it a lot better.” U2.com is already
hosted by Signatures Network, one of several merchandising companies
recently acquired by Live Nation; they are being merged into one unit.

While Live Nation has been snapping up artists along with companies
that provide them services, No. 2 concert promoter AEG Live has been
seeking to make strategic moves of its own. Earlier this month talks
stalled in a deal for Ticketmaster and Cablevision Corp. to take a 49%
stake in the promoter, which is owned by Anschutz Corp.

IAC and Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal,
together operate a personal-finance Web site.