360 Mis-Label?

According to a recent New York Post article, Live Nation is backing off from its strategy to distribute records in-house, but LN says that was never the plan.

Asked if the 360 deals with top-name artists means Live Nation is building a record label, CEO Michael Rapino recently told the Wall Street Journal:

"We have no desire to be in the record business. We are not going to be [talent scouts], we’re not going to produce records. If and when the new model requires us to help distribute those rights for the artist as part of the 10-year package, then we absolutely believe there’s value in distributing that music without all the infrastructure costs of being in the business.

"We will outsource it all. We will do nothing in-house. We are not in the record-business infrastructure," he said.

The Post cited sources inside Live Nation as saying company officials are talking about outsourcing the distribution of albums by clients Madonna, Jay-Z, Shakira and Nickelback to "one or more major music labels" and that Rapino would "consider doing licensing deals on an artist-by-artist basis."

That includes Warner Music Group, which could theoretically handle marketing, promotion and distribution of albums by Nickelback and Madonna – two artists who defected from the recording conglomerate (WMG acquired 73 percent of Nickelback’s label, Roadrunner, in 2006).

The Post further speculated that the recent departure of Michael Cohl as chairman of the board and the dismissal of record company men Bob Ezrin, Bob Cahill and Bill Hein from the Live Nation Artist division is a revamp of Cohl’s strategy to make Live Nation a multifaceted powerhouse, including a record company.

Live Nation spokesman John Vlautin told Pollstar the company has no comment on the Post report.