What happened
Veteran rock group U2 has signed a 12-year contract with Live Nation Inc., giving the company control of the band’s merchandising, touring, and digital and branding rights. U2 will maintain their recording and publishing relationship with Universal Music Group. Although financial terms of the deal haven’t been revealed, it has been estimated to be in the $100 million range. (Reuters)

What the commentators said
Live Nation made a smart deal with U2, said Rick Aristotle Munarriz in the blog The Motley Fool, especially by excluding “record label distribution” for the band. Live Nation understands that “established artists like Madonna”—who also teamed up with the company recently—“and U2 rarely duplicate the commercial success they achieved in their prime,” but they’re still “compelling on stage.” Plus, fans still want to hear artists “perform their classics,” so a band like U2 doesn’t “need to have another hit record between now and 2020 to fill up stadiums.”

U2 obviously knows what it’s doing, too, said Ciar Byrne in The Independent. This is “the direction in which the music industry is heading. As income from CD sales declines and pirate downloads eat up profits, artists are starting to realize that the money lies in touring and merchandising.” And the Rolling Stones might be next to sign up: Rumor has it that Live Nation might try to “woo” them “when their current contract with EMI expires in June.”

Aren’t the members of U2 getting a little old for this? said Stuart Heritage in the blog Hecklerspray. “You’d think that they’d be planning to kick the whole music thing in the head” by now. Wouldn’t they rather be “saving Africa or ending poverty or halting climate change” or something? Now we have to endure “12 more years” of them “flying around the world and being all smug and singing their rubbish songs.” “Warning” to Live Nation: Don’t even “think about talking to Bon Jovi.”