So Jay-Z’s ditching his label and signing a comprehensive, historic $150 million deal with Live Nation, joining Madonna on the concert promoters’ roster. Can a co-headlined Best of Both Worlds album and tour from Madge and Jay be far behind? (Minus any unexpected macing, fingers crossed.) All kidding aside, as big as this deal is, it really just confirms what anyone who’s been paying any attention realized years ago: The old major-label power structure is passé (shocker), and big-time career artists can make waaaay more cash by touring than by recording CDs (double shocker). Still, it’s impressive that someone as entrenched in the system as Jay has come around on this. And it’s a smart move for sure on Live Nation’s part. Jay feels like a more contemporary voice than Madonna, even though he just told the New York Times that he’s become “the Rolling Stones of hip-hop.”
The question, as always, is how much of an effect this will really have on the rest of the industry — whether this has long-term ramifications for people who aren’t named Jay-Z. Every time a megastar signs one of these unorthodox deals, it feels more and more like the tide is shifting. But very few artists have fanbases big enough to justify a move like this, and something tells me Live Nation is not chomping at the bit to finance the next Memphis Bleek record. (Though I hope they prove me wrong — Bleek’s last single was not bad!) So? Maybe none of that matters. If this means Jay will continue releasing music (in whatever format) and touring more often in the next few years, I’ll be happy. How about you?
addCredit(“Jay-Z: George Pimentel/WireImage.com”)