LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) A dis against AEG by Sharon Osbourne turned into a war of words between Irving Azoff and AEG chief Jay Marciano Feb. 7.
Osbourne got into the “block booking” controversy that has been a he-said/she-said battle between Azoff MSG Entertainment and AEG for about a year now. Each has accused the other of requiring touring artists to play two of their significant venues – Azoff MSG strongly suggesting that if an artist plays Madison Square Garden in New York, that artist should play the Forum in Los Angeles, too, while AEG has been accused of strongly suggesting to an artist to play both Staples Center in Los Angeles and The O2 in London.
Osbourne – wife and manager of Ozzy Osbourne, on the cusp of a Live Nation-produced farewell tour – took to the media regarding this concern, servicing through a publicist that she refused to sign an agreement with AEG to play The O2 only if Ozzy would play Staples, a venue he apparently despises.
“Shame on AEG for bringing artists into a power struggle you’re having with your competitor, Live Nation,” Osbourne wrote. “I can assure you that Live Nation would never strong-arm an artist into playing a venue they’re not comfortable performing in.
“In closing, without the artists there would be no AEG, no Live Nation, no promoters agents or managers. The artists should always come first, Never forget that! There’s enough for everyone without you trying to monopolize the world of entertainment.”
That’s where it stood as of only a few hours ago. Since then, AEG’s Marciano responded in kind, according to Variety.
“Dear Sharon. Thank you for your note. Please understand this dispute is between The Forum and Staples Center and we couldn’t agree with you more – it should always be the artist’s choice. We long for the days when artists and fans came first. Kindest regards – Jay. PS The other guys started this!”
That, in turn, brought a response from Azoff who, along with Osbourne, happened to be within walking distance of each other at the Pollstar Live! Conference in Los Angeles.
“Dearest Jay – This is a pack of lies,” Azoff said, according to Variety. “I’ve put artists first my entire career, name one time you’ve put an artist above your own self-interest. Why do they continue to do business with you? We do not block book Madison Square Garden and The Forum, it is well-established. You guys continue to use lies to validate your anti-artist, anti-industry behavior. Love, Irving. PS – Sharon, you rock. You’re welcome at The Forum any time.”
The contract that Sharon refused to sign apparently reads that The O2 gig could only occur if Ozzy “also plays an indoor arena anywhere within twenty five (25) miles of the City of Los Angeles as part of the same tour cycle as the aforementioned The O2 Shows and that show/those shows is/are promoted by a Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. group company, then you shall ensure at least one of those Ozzy Osbourne shows in Los Angeles shall be held at the Staples Center.”