As joint ventures go, this is both significant and potentially controversial. Universal Music Group is partnering with Live Naion’s Front Line Management Group to launch a new joint venture management company. Initially, it will focus on ‘direct-to-consumer bundling initiatives’ for certain UMG artists, selling gig tickets, music and other products through artists’ own websites. “This is an unprecedented partnership that unites the world’s top music artists with the world’s leading artist management, live entertainment, event ticketing and sponsorship resources to drive innovation across our industry,” says Live Nation executive chairman Irving Azoff, who as Front Line CEO will be directly overseeing the new initiative. It’s an interesting deal in the light of last week’s announcement that UMG’s parent company, Vivendi, has bought another ticketing company, See Tickets. Non-Front Line managers of key UMG artists will surely have been briefed beforehand on the partnership, but their responses will be interesting to hear. Source: Press Release

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