July 28, 2008 / 12:08 AM / in 9 years

Universal Music signs Rolling Stones deal

<p>File picture shows Rolling Stones band members Keith Richards (2nd R), Mick Jagger (R), Ronnie Wood (2nd L) and Charlie Watts in New York March 30, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>

LONDON (Reuters) - Vivendi’s Universal Music has signed an exclusive, long-term worldwide recording agreement with The Rolling Stones, in a deal that will be a blow to the band’s previous record company EMI.

EMI was taken over by private equity company Terra Firma in 2007 and has since struggled to keep hold of some of its biggest acts. It will also be a blow to concert promoter Live Nation who had also tried to sign the group, according to media reports.

Universal, the world’s biggest music company, said the new deal covered future albums by the Rolling Stones and their catalogue including such albums as “Sticky Fingers” and “Black and Blue” and songs “Brown Sugar” and “Angie.”

The British group is a hugely successful touring act, estimated to have sold more than 200 million albums worldwide.

“Universal are forward thinking, creative and hands-on music people,” the band said in a statement. “We really look forward to working with them.”

In March, Universal Music released the soundtrack album from “Shine A Light,” director Martin Scorsese’s film of the Rolling Stones’ 2006 performance at the Beacon Theatre in New York.

It will now release all new recordings by the group through its Polydor label and handle full digital and physical rights as part of the agreement.

“Universal Music Group will begin planning an unprecedented, long-term campaign to reposition the Rolling Stones’ entire catalogue for the digital age,” the company said.

EMI, which had been home to the veteran rock band for many years, had recently talked about trying to squeeze new revenue from its catalogue of artists.

“EMI Group wishes the Rolling Stones well in their new venture and looks forward to a continuing relationship with the band through their long-term agreement with EMI Music Publishing,” EMI said in a statement.

“EMI Music will only ever conclude mutually beneficial agreements with its artists,” it added.

Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Richard Hubbard and Erica Billingham

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