Fleetwood Mac

Deal is first of its kind with an act

In another deal aimed at developing the digital radio marketplace – and the first of its kind with an act – Clear Channel Media & Entertainment has signed a revenue-sharing agreement with Fleetwood Mac.

A year ago, Clear Channel began pacting with some of the top U.S. independent labels with a deal with Big Machine, the Nashville-based home of Taylor Swift. Since then, the radio giant has signed up such indies as Glassnote Entertainment (which releases U.K. folk-rock act Mumford & Sons) and, just last week, Dualtone (which issues work by the Lumineers).

The hookup with Fleetwood Mac is a headline-catching deal: The U.K.-U.S. unit was one of the major hitmakers of the ‘70s, logging multi-platinum sales on its self-titled 1975 collection and its successors “Rumours” and “Tusk.”

The group’s first indie release, the EP “Extended Play,” was issued in late April. The four-track EP, the band’s first set in a decade, debuted at No. 48 on the U.S. album chart, shifting just 8,600 units in its first week on sale.

Clear Channel’s deals are geared to the still-infant digital radio market. Firm’s terrestrial broadcasts on 850 stations account for 98% of its audience, with digital taking up just 2%. Clear Channel has sought to stoke its digital side with the online and mobile platform iHeartRadio.

Agreements also address the ongoing issue of label and artist royalties for radio play. While music publishers benefit financially from airplay, artists and labels do not, and the broadcasting industry has long opposed such payments. Most recent attempt to secure radio royalties fell apart when federal legislation stalled in 2010.

Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman said in a statement that the agreement “is the clearest sign yet that this kind of revenue-sharing model represents the industry’s future – it is a win-win-win, for artists, fans and the music business. We look forward to helping Fleetwood Mac get their hit songs to their fans on whatever platform or device they want to find them.”

The act’s manager Irving Azoff added, “It’s fitting that a group that’s played such an integral role in radio and music history would be the first band to take such a major step — helping the music industry create a sustainable digital marketplace so it can thrive for decades to come. We’re delighted to join Clear Channel in creating a new model for the music industry, one that will be good for performing artists, good for music fans, and good for the people who have invested their talent, time and money.”

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