$120 million pact would be for 10 years

A 10-year, $120 million pact that would bring all of Madonna’s music business into the Live Nation fold is close to being signed.

The non-traditional deal has been rumored for months, but the Wall Street Journal unveiled particulars in a story on its website Wednesday. Madonna would receive a mix of cash and stock and give Live Nation the rights to sell three studio albums, promote concert tours, sell merchandise and license her name.

The Live Nation deal is similar to recent pacts in which recording artists create partnerships that share in music and concert ticket revenue. Korn, for example, pacted with EMI to give the diskery a piece of the concert money; Interscope benefits financially from the ancillary interest of the Pussycat Dolls. Warner Music Group only makes money from Madonna’s recorded music sales.

It would be the first entry into recorded music for Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter. Live Nation, which was formerly a part of Clear Channel, has promoted Madonna tours for years and grossed more than $400 million from her perfs.

Intriguingly, Madonna would be the first of her early ’80s superstar peers to step outside the label system to continue making recordings. Prince went a self-release route until he had far greater success leasing his albums to Sony for distribution. Bruce Springsteen signed a reported $50 million pact a few years back giving Columbia the rights to release 10 of his albums.

The package includes a general advance of $17.5 million and advance payments for three albums of $50 million to $60 million, the Journal reported. When she reupped with Warner Music in 1991, her deal called for advances of $25 million per album.

Madonna, 49, has been with Warner Music since Sire Records released her debut in 1983. She moved to Warner Bros. Records in 1990. She received a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination last month.

Her potentially last disc for Warner is slated for release either late this year or early next year.

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