Superstar band's EMI deal expires in May

The Rolling Stones are taking their soundtrack album for “Shine the Light” to Universal Music Group, building speculation that they will be the next superstar act to depart EMI for good.

Universal’s Polydor label will release the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese’s “Shine a Light” in March around the time Paramount Classics puts the pic in theaters. It will open the Berlin Film festival in early February.

Reports have come out of London that Mick Jagger has met with EMI’s new owner Guy Hands about extending the Stones’ deal with EMI, which expires in May. Taking the soundtrack to Universal puts them in the driver’s seat to deal for future Stones recordings.

The Times of London has reported that the band did not feel comfortable with EMI, which will be undergoing a massive reogranization and cutting up to 2,000 jobs. Radiohead and Paul McCartney have already left and Robbie Williams, Coldplay and the Verve have expressed concerns about the new management team.

While the Stones last five studio albums — released between 1986 and 2005 — have not posted the sales numbers of earlier albums, the band does generate north of $5 million for EMI annually. EMI’s Virgin Records controls all of the Stones’ post-1971 recordings; ABKCO controls the 1960s recordings originally released on Decca, a Universal Music imprint.

It is likely that the Stones would take their post-’71 catalog with them wherever they sign.

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