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Live Nation Bids On Stones Back Catalogue

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Promoter Live Nation has reportedly made a surprise bid on the Rolling Stones back catalogue, much of which is set to revert from their current and long-term label home EMI in May of 2008.

The Stones back catalog is a significant revenue generator for EMI, earning the label group about $6 million a year for all of the band's post 1971 recordings and EMI Chairman Guy Hands has stated that the exploitation of the band's back catalog is a major component in future growth.

The Stone's newest album, the yet to be released live disk "Shine a Light" had been shopped to Universal, which owns the band's pre-1971 catalog and had been, up until recently when Live Nation tendered a counteroffer, considered as the most likely place for the Stones to land if they decide to part with EMI.

Live Nation's offer may be an indicator that the promoter is hoping to sign the Stones in a so-called 360 deal, such as the one they signed with Madonna after luring her away from Warner last year with a $120 million deal.

The Stones already have a strong connection to Live Nation through Michael Cohl, who was just recently promoted to Chairman at the firm. Cohl has produced the band's last 5 tours which together, netted $1.5 billion in ticket sales, including their most recent excursion, The "Bigger Bang" tour, which alone, grossed a staggering $437 million in ticket sales.

Ultimately, this is all conjecture – the Stones may well sign with EMI again, as the label can't afford to let the band slip away without a fight. Live Nation also has to contend with Warner and SongBMG, who have also expressed an interest in the back catalog. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers