Madonna Leaves Record Industry in $120 Million Deal

Madonna has become the latest artist to buck the record industry by signing a $120 million record deal with concert promoter Live Nation.

While it does not involve selling records directly to the public as other bands have decided to do, it does mark the largest act yet to turn its back on the record industry. Live Nation gains exclusive rights to three new studio albums, all merchandise, tours, and licensing of the Madonna name.

On Monday, Nine Inch Nails made an announcement that it will be selling its music directly to the public, and Oasis and Jamiroquai plan to follow suit. Radiohead is already selling its own albums digitally through an innovative concept that allows the fan to decide how much they want to pay for it.


Madonna, 49, had been one of Warner Bros' biggest acts for nearly two and a half decades. However, Live Nation outbid Warner, and the label refused to match it. The agreement goes for 10 years, nearly to Madonna's 60th birthday.

Warner does not immediately lose Madonna -- she still owes the group one more studio album. That is planned for next year. Additionally, the agreement allows Warner to release a greatest hits CD.

The company does not lose the rights to her songs produced while she was with Warner -- arguably her best work to date. However, at the same time, the loss of Madonna is a blow to Warner's bottom line and to the record industry as a whole.

Now that major acts are breaking away from the labels, it could force the industry to give artists a bigger slice of revenues from their work. But some see it as the beginning of the end, and that the days of the record industry may be numbered.

Neither Warner, Live Nation, nor Madonna's publicists were responding to requests for comment.

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