The Rolling Stones have signed a one-album deal with Universal raising speculation as they near the end of their current contract with EMI.

According to the Times, the legendary rockers have inked a deal with Universal to release a live CD recorded in New York in 2006 which will accompany Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stones documentary Shine A Light.

As the ramifications of EMI's controversial decision to restructure continue to echo through The Music industry - with between 1,500 and 2,500 staff facing redundancy - it is thought the Stones could follow Sir Paul McCartney and Radiohead in leaving the label.

The former Beatle signed a deal with Starbucks last year, later labelling EMI "boring" while Radiohead left the label to release their seventh album In Rainbows online, following a reported dispute regarding advance payments, which the band strenuously denied.

As part of the one-album deal with Universal Music, the Shine a Light soundtrack will be released globally in March, with Polydor Records distributing the album in the UK.

"We are really proud to be working with the Rolling Stones, and so is everybody in Universal Music globally,” Universal Music Group International chairman and chief executive Lucian Grainge said in a statement.

However EMI representatives have denied that the agreement between Universal Music and the Rolling Stones affects the band's current contract with EMI, calling the reports "good spin".

Talking to the Associated Press news agency, EMI spokesman Andrew Dowler said: "Universal are suggesting this is a broader thing, but it's about one film, one soundtrack and had nothing to do with their relationship with the label.

"They're an EMI band."

The Stones' contract with EMI expires in May and could see the band discussing new agreements with other labels, which would incorporate the band's back catalogue from 1971 onwards.

17/01/2008 18:04:44