Live Nation and Universal Music form super-company

Live Nation Entertainment, which now houses Ticketmaster, House of Blues and Ticketweb, has announced a partnership with the Universal Music Group to create a joint-venture management company for managing and strengthening the label's acts. This is the first time a major label has teamed up directly with a promoter and ticket seller.

According to its press release, the new venture will be headed up by Live Nation's Front Line Management Group and "will focus on developing direct-to-consumer bundling initiatives for select UMG artists in key markets around the world that will bring together concert tickets and a variety of products with artist websites." Which is to say, you'll probably soon be able to order tickets directly off of artist sites and you'll get little incentives like T-shirts and CDs.

In turn, Live Nation will gain access to Universal Music Group's management roster, which includes the likes of ZZ Top, Christina Aguilera and Robert Plant, and will be able to use the venture to create joint promotional deals. The venture also includes Universal's 5B Artist Management and Trinifold, two management firms that handle Slipknot, Lilly Allen, Elton John and plenty of others.

This is, essentially, losing the middleman in the proceedings and allowing the artist management and promotional services to work together with the label from the start.

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