Paul McGuinness to step down as U2 manager

‘It could be seen as poor etiquette for a manager to retire before his artist has split, quit or died’

U2’s manager Paul McGuinness  who has confirmed he is stepping down from his  role as part of a deal which will see Live Nation buy the management teams of the Irish band and Madonna.

U2’s manager Paul McGuinness who has confirmed he is stepping down from his role as part of a deal which will see Live Nation buy the management teams of the Irish band and Madonna.


U2’s long-time manager, Paul McGuinness is to leave his role with the band.

In a statement Mr McGuinness said: “It could be seen as slightly poor etiquette for a manager to consider retiring before his artist has split, quit or died, but U2 have never subscribed to the rock ‘n’ roll code of conduct.”

“As I approach the musically relevant age of 64, I have resolved to take a less hands-on role as the band embarks on the next cycle of their extraordinary career.”

His decision comes as Live Nation Entertainment, the concert company that includes Ticketmaster, is in advanced negotiations to buy the management companies behind U2 and Madonna.

Under the deal, Live Nation would pay more than $30 million for both Principle Management, Mr McGuinness’s company, as well as Maverick, run by Guy Oseary, Madonna’s manager.

Mr Oseary would then take over day-to-day management of U2.

McGuinness (62) who has managed U2 almost since its inception - and in doing so became one of the most highly-rated executives in the music business - would become Principle’s chairman, a role that is not fully clear.

“I am delighted that Live Nation, who with Arthur Fogel have been our long term touring partners, have joined us in creating this powerful new force in artist management,” Mr McGuinness said.

“I have long regarded Guy Oseary as the best manager of his generation, and there is no one else I would have considered to take over the day-to-day running of our business.”

A spokeswoman for Live Nation declined to comment, and Oseary could not be reached yesterday.

According to Pollstar, a concert industry trade magazine, the top 10 highest-grossing tours include four by U2 and one by Madonna. U2’s last tour, called 360, had more than $700 million in ticket sales and was seen by nearly 7 million people around the world.

Live Nation, which besides its concert promotion and ticketing business manages the careers of some 200 acts through its Artist Nation division, has had close ties with both U2 and Madonna for years.

In 2007, it struck a $120 million deal with Madonna that covered touring and recorded music rights for a decade, and it later sold the recording rights to Universal. In 2008, it made a deal with U2 to handle the band’s touring and merchandising exclusively for 12 years.

Along with other arrangements Live Nation made around that time with Jay-Z, Shakira and Nickelback, those deals came to symbolize a major change in the music business, as artists looked to concerts, merchandise and myriad other outlets to make up for lost record sales.


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