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BBC still negotiating with Stones over airing Glastonbury set

By | Published on Monday 3 June 2013

The Rolling Stones

The BBC is still in talks with the Rolling Stones about the broadcaster airing the band’s headline set at Glastonbury later this month, according to various reports late last week.

As previously reported, the Beeb last week announced details of its most extensive coverage of Glastonbury yet, capitalising on new digital channels to pump out extra live content in addition to the television and radio airtime set aside to screen footage from the big music fest.

The BBC will have access to a plethora of content from the festival site, with the option to screen full sets from many artists, though it’s not uncommon for headline acts to make demands regarding how their performances are screened.

And The Stones were always going to drive a hard bargain on that front. Commercially speaking, the band will be pondering whether being beamed into living rooms across the UK and beyond is great promotion for future live activities, or a massive freebie (for the viewers) that could hinder the future sale of tickets, live DVDs or pay-to-view live screenings (not that the latter went especially well when a New York show was made available that way last year).

Insiders say that Jagger et al are fine for the BBC to screen a few songs from the start of their Glastonbury set, but a deal is still to be done on anything more substantial. Though it’s been suggested that the band have creative as well as commercial concerns about their Glasto full set being aired, which might save the BBC from having to write a bigger cheque than they would like. That said, sometimes writing a bigger cheque is easier than reassuring a major artist their set will be of broadcast quality whatever the weather.

But a spokesman for the Corporation played down speculation that negotiations were proving particularly stressful, telling reporters that discussions with the band were “absolutely business as usual for this stage of the festival” adding, “Our conversations with The Rolling Stones have been extremely constructive and are ongoing”.