Musicians net stock in themselves

Artists get an ownership stake in return for allowing Artistdirect Network to mange their online sales of music, videos, and other products.

Artistdirect Network has signed a deal with 45 music artists, giving everyone from the Backstreet Boys to the Rolling Stones a combined total of better than 10 percent in the music retailer through stock options, in return for the rights to sell their wares.

The deal comes in the same week Artist said it will pool its Artistdirect.com, UBL.com and iMusic Web sites under one hub.

As part of the pact, artists are expected to reap higher revenues from product sales--CDs, MP3 downloads, videos, clothing--through the site as shareholders.

Artistdirect enables artists to control their own Web sites, online stores, images, and downloadable music. The e-tailer collects a percentage of the sales and ads in return for managing the sites and online stores.

Artistdirect.com has 23 individual sites for music groups or artists, including the Backstreet Boys, Beck, Limp Bizkit, Blink 182 and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The 22 newcomers include Aerosmith, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, the Offspring, Foo Fighters, Matchbox 20, Metallica and B-52s.

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