The Rolling Stones announced Thursday they have signed a deal to release the soundtrack to their Martin Scorsese-directed concert film through Universal Music Group.
The move does not bode well for EMI Group, the label that has been the Stones’ home for 16 years, raising the possibility that the band might follow Radiohead and Paul McCartney and leave the embattled record company.
“The band are looking forward to working with Universal Music and are excited about this new venture,” The Rolling Stones said in a statement.
In a one-album deal, Universal Music’s labels around the world will release the “Shine a Light” soundtrack in March. The album will be released in Britain by Polydor Records.
“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.
Universal Music Group is a subsidiary of the French telecommunications giant Vivendi SA.
EMI said its relationship with the Stones was unaffected by the announcement. EMI spokesman Andrew Dowler stressed it had been always understood Universal Music would release the soundtrack because its studio affiliate Universal Pictures was producing the film.
“It’s good spin: 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,” he said. “They’re an EMI band.”
EMI has lost McCartney and Radiohead, two of its biggest acts, in the past year, while others — including Coldplay — have expressed unhappiness with the label.
EMI was bought by Terra Firma Capital Partners last year, and on Tuesday, the private equity firm announced plans to cut as many as 2,000 jobs, about a third of the company’s work force, in a restructuring plan aimed at reassuring its restless artists, countering plummeting CD revenue and saving $400 million a year.
“Shine a Light” was filmed during a Rolling Stones performance at New York’s Beacon Theatre in autumn 2006. It includes appearances by Buddy Guy, the White Stripes’ Jack White and Christina Aguilera, along with rarely seen archival footage of the band.
The film will open the Berlin International Film Festival on Feb. 7 and is expected to be released in cinemas in April.