Rapino Silent On Madonna Deal

Live Nation chief Michael Rapino is staying silent about U.S. newspaper stories claiming his company is negotiating with Madonna for an "all-encompassing" music deal that would include album releases.

"Sorry, can’t comment on that one right now," he told Pollstar after stories had appeared in newspapers including the New York Post and Detroit Free Press.

The agreement would create an entity that would manage all Madonna-related businesses, including albums, touring, merchandise and sponsorships over a multiyear period, according to the Post, which was first with the story.

It would be run as a joint-venture company that would seek to cut a deal with a record label to handle distribution and marketing support for album releases.

Neither paper gave any indication as to the sources of the story.

The reports appeared shortly after Universal Music Group confirmed its 50 pence per share purchase of the U.K.’s Sanctuary Music Group, which has management divisions and London’s Helter Skelter booking agency.

Leading British live music business execs including Agency Group chief Neil Warnock and AEG senior vice president Rob Hallett have voiced concerns about major recorded music business companies trying to encroach on the live music market.

Live Nation looks to have a strong relationship with the seemingly ageless pop diva.

About 1.2 million punters paid US$193.7 million in 2006 to see the worldwide 60-date Confessions On A Dancefloor tour, which was produced by Arthur Fogel from Live Nation’s The Next Adventure.

Madonna is reportedly in London working with Justin Timberlake, Pharrell and Timbaland on the follow-up to her 2005 Confessions on a Dancefloor album.

It’s the final studio album due under her current Warner deal and is tentatively scheduled for release later this year.