Live Nation pacts with UMG

Partnership will be managed by LNE's Front Line Management

Melding the might of two diversified music and entertainment giants, Live Nation Entertainment and Universal Music Group are launching a new joint venture management company.

Partnership will be managed by LNE’s Front Line Management Group, whose founder and CEO is LNE executive chairman Irving Azoff.

Venture will focus on developing direct-to-consumer bundling initiatives for UMG artists in key international markets, bringing together tickets and a variety of undefined music products with artist websites.

Ticketing and bundling products will be handled by LNE’s Ticketmaster division.

Both UMG and LNE operate merchandising companies — Bravado and Live Nation Merchandise — whose considerable market clout could be brought to bear in the new arrangement.

Azoff said in a statement, “We see tremendous opportunities to work together to create a broad range of products built on the power of music and the direct connection between artists and fans.”

UMG chairman-CEO Lucian Grainge added that the companies will create “a series of new platforms and global direct-to-consumer initiatives that will further expand the presence of our artists in this evolving marketplace.”

Front Line’s roster of more than 250 acts includes the Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Neil Diamond, Christina Aguilera, Kenny Chesney, Fleetwood Mac, Journey, and New Kids on the Block.

UMG operates the management firms Trinifold, Twenty First Artists, 5B and Sanctuary. Its clients include the Who, Roger Daltrey, Robert Plant, Mick Fleetwood, ZZ Top, Tommy Lee, Judas Priest and Slipknot.

LNE and UMG said that while each of UMG’s divisions will remain independently run under their current management — Sanctuary’s Carl Stubner, Trinifold’s Bill Curbishley and Robert Rosenberg, 5B’s Cory Brennan and Bob Johnsen and Twenty First’s Colin Lester — they will work closely with Front Line to expand their respective rosters.For Azoff, new venture represents a return of sorts to familiar turf: From 1983-89 he headed MCA Records, whose assets are now controlled by UMG.