Madonna has signed a revolutionary contract with concert promoter Live Nation.

The unique agreement is the first to encompass all facets of the star's career, with Live Nation holding the rights to her albums, tours, merchandise, website, DVDs, sponsorship, TV shows and films.

Following Radiohead's recent decision to distribute their seventh album, In Rainbows, without a record deal and Sir Paul McCartney's contract with the Starbucks music label, Madonna's rumoured £59 million ten-year contract sees the 49-year-old exemplifying the changing nature of The Music industry.

As the first addition to Live Nation's new Artist Nation stable, Madonna said: "The paradigm in the music business has shifted and as an artist and a businesswoman, I have to move with that shift."

She added: "For the first time in my career, the way that my music can reach my fans is unlimited. I've never wanted to think in a limited way and with this new partnership, the possibilities are endless."

The deal ends her 25-year-relationship with Warner Music, for whom she has sold 200 million records.

Jean-Bernard Levy, chief executive of Universal Music Group's parent company Vivendi, told the Reuters news agency that Madonna's decision was a prime example that the music business is at a tipping point.

"It shows indeed the music industry is being less record-centric," he said. "It used to be just focused on the record and everybody thought all the rest was just promotions in order to sell records.

"Now it's a more balanced business where you have records, TV shows, merchandise, touring revenues and so on."

Madonna will release one final album as part of her Warner Music contract.

17/10/2007 10:38:58