Cohl says Live Nation already in breach of his 2008 agreement

By | Published on Tuesday 1 February 2011

Live Nation

Legendary tour promoter Michael Cohl has a fired a shot back at his former employer Live Nation by countersuing in a dispute over an agreement the two parties signed in 2008.

As previously reported, Live Nation sued Cohl late last year claiming he owed them multi-million dollar payments in relation to that agreement. While the terms by which Cohl left Live Nation in 2008 are a secret, court papers last year showed that the outgoing Chairman agreed to make sizable payments to the live music conglom over a period of years in return for keeping certain assets of CPL, his former company which Live Nation had taken control of in 2006. The cash payments were also conditional on Live Nation giving Cohl permission to continue to work with certain premiere league artists, something a non-compete clause in his original contract with live music firm wouldn’t allow.

Live Nation’s lawsuit last November claimed Cohl had defaulted on those payments and currently owed the company in the region of $5.5 million. But the promoter has now filed a countersuit in which he reportedly argues that he has stopped making payments to Live Nation because it defaulted on that 2008 agreement with regards the most important of all the premiere league artists Cohl has regularly worked with over the years, the mighty Rolling Stones.

Cohl’s lawsuit claims that, on hearing the Stones were considering touring again in 2011, the live music conglom contacted him to say they planned to also bid for the rights to promote the aging rockers’ next live outing, and then to say that Cohl was contractually obliged to make a joint bid with Live Nation, and then that he had a duty to share information about his negotiations with the band with his former employer. None of this concurred with his understanding of the 2008 agreement.

Cohl argues that Live Nation’s actions regarding the Stones is damaging his relationship with the band’s management because, while he remains on good terms with the band themselves, they understandably don’t want to be dragged into an industry squabble. As the right to maintain a relationship with the Stones was, in Cohl’s words, the “crown jewel” of the 2008 agreement, he says that is sufficient grounds for him to withhold the payments he committed to in his departing contract with Live Nation.

The live music firm is yet to comment on Cohl’s countersuit. There’s also been no official word on a Stones concert in 2011, though it would coincide with the band’s fiftieth anniversary and could, some predict, be the biggest rock tour ever in terms of revenue.