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UMG's Levy Not Worried By Madonna Deal

NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — While most observers note that the Madonna deal seems to be the latest in a series of salvos against the traditional recording industry, Universal Musuc impresario Jean-Bernard Levy isn't worried.

During a recent interview, the CEO expressed confidence in UMG's ability to retain its roster of high profile artists such as 50 Cent and Mariah Carey. "I do not believe we'll lose a lot of artists," Levy told Reuters, "Indeed, we do so well that the artists feel good working with us."

Universal has been looking for ways to strengthen their position as their traditional business declines. Part of that equation would appear to be diversification, signaled by the acquisition of Sanctuary last year with their agency and management operations being of particular signifigance for Universal.

"It shows indeed the music industry is being less record-centric," Levy told Reuters "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."

In spite of the otherwise proactive approach that UMG seems to be adopting to try to grapple with the steady decline in CD sales, there still seems to be little in the way of a cohesive approach on the digital front. Universal is still selling music on Apple's iTunes, presently the dominant force in online music. UMG's present deal is a month-by-month basis, and Levy has suggested that he would like to renegotiate the deal as well as find other outlets to provide them with leverage in any deal-making with the computer giant.

"I have said it is not good that the current relationship is not well balanced," he said. "Our strategy is to try and help everybody that will respect the artists and help us to monetize our investments as we try and diversify our revenues." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers