LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — AEG Presents has reportedly dropped their “block-booking” policy that ties plays at the company’s key London arena, the O2, with performances at its flagship Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“Going forward promoters for artists who want to play the O2 will no longer to be required to commit to playing Staples,” AEG Presents CEO Jay Marciano told Billboard on Wednesday “We would only require that commitment if we had reason to believe that artists were being somehow pressured to play the Forum in order to have access to the Garden. But we’ve had a lot of feedback from artists and agents and managers that they’re no longer [feeling that pressure]. We’re pleased that this is the end result.”
While the details of the feud are in dispute, AEG Presents claims to have implemented th block booking policy several years ago, after a similar policy was put in place by rivals Azoff-MSG, who AEG claimed tied plays at Madison Square Garden in New York with the Forum in Los Angeles, where the Azoff-MSG partnership competes directly AEG Presents.
Azoff has denied such a policy was in place, but in a statement to Billboard on Wednesday, he said: “It’s a great day for artists when those of us that make a living serving them recognize that artists should have the right to their own decisions, especially regarding choice of venues to play. I applaud Jay Marciano and AEG’s decision to put artists first, and of course thanks to Ozzy and Sharon for standing up for everyone.”
Per Amplify’s Dave Brooks, who first reported the news, the cessation of hostilities between AEG Presents and Azoff-MSG likely means that the lawsuit veteran rocker Ozzy Osbourne brought against AEG Presents over the policy is unnecessary.
“If they are abandoning the policy and this is a real commitment on their behalf, then there is no longer a need for a lawsuit,” Osbourne’s attorney Dan Wall told Billboard. “If we can take this at face value, it’s a great development for artists and Sharon and Ozzy will be satisfied.”