Madonna Deal Doesn’t Bug Universal

Madonna’s new US$120 million-range deal with Live Nation isn’t bothering Vivendi chief exec Jean-Bernard Levy, who’s confident that Universal will hang on to its top acts.

"I do not believe we’ll lose a lot of artists," he said in a Reuters interview within days of Madonna’s tie-up with LN going public.

"Indeed, we do so well that the artists feel good working with us," he added, pointing out that Universal is already signing artists to similar "360-degree contracts."

The acts on Universal’s roster include 50 Cent, Sting, Mariah Carey, Amy Winehouse, McFly, Mika and Keane.

"It shows indeed the music industry is being less record-centric," Levy said. "It used to be just focused on the record and everybody thought all the rest was just promotions in order to sell records. Now it’s a more balanced business where you have records, TV shows, merchandise, touring revenues and so on."

He also said he expects Universal to keep expanding into "ancillary areas" by building on Sanctuary’s base.

In the summer Universal bought the struggling U.K. business for £44.5 million and the assumption of £59.8 million worth of debt. It’s since shut down Sanctuary’s U.K. recorded music business, but made it clear it wants to develop its management divisions and Helter Skelter agency.