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AEG Presents ends block booking policy

AEG Presents has confirmed that it is ending a policy whereby artists are required to play at Los Angeles’ Staples Center if they have performed at London’s O2 Arena.

The Variety website reported that AEG Presents introduced the ruling after a similar policy was launched by Azoff-MSG Entertainment that connected The Forum in Inglewood, California with Madison Square Garden in New York.

According to Variety, Azoff-MSG has recently stated that it has not enacted such a policy and AEG Presents has now decided to end its own ruling.

AEG Presents chief executive Jay Marciano told Variety: “Going forward promoters for artists who want to play the O2 will no longer to be required to commit to playing Staples.

“We would only require that commitment if we had reason to believe that artists were being somehow pressured to play the Forum in order to have access to the Garden. But we’ve had a lot of feedback from artists and agents and managers that they’re no longer (feeling that pressure). We’re pleased that this is the end result.”

Variety noted that AEG’s policy prompted a lawsuit from Ozzy Osbourne and his manager and wife, Sharon. Dan Wall, an attorney for the Osbournes, welcomed this week’s development. He told Variety: “If that’s true, it’s great news for Ozzy and the dozens of other affected artists. The lawsuit exists only to remove this block booking requirement, and if that’s gone, there is no further need for litigation.”

Irving Azoff, chairman of Azoff-MSG Entertainment, added in a statement: “It’s a great day for artists when those of us that make a living serving them recognise that artists should have the right to their own decisions, especially regarding choice of venues to play. I applaud Jay Marciano and AEG’s decision to put artists first, and of course thanks to Ozzy and Sharon for standing up for everyone.”

Image: Elmar78