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"Rock and roll started out as dance music, but somewhere along the way it lost its hips and became rhythmically simplistic." — Edge

McGuinness Out as U2 Manager; Live Nation Reportedly Buying Principle Management

New Album Tentatively Due in April, Possible Announcement via Super Bowl Commercial

Maybe sit down before you read any further.

Paul McGuinness, the only manager U2 has had in its 30+ year history, is stepping aside and Live Nation reportedly is set to buy Principle Management. That's according to the New York Times, which quotes "several people with direct knowledge of the talks." The Times says Live Nation is also planning to buy Maverick, the company owned by Guy Oseary -- Madonna's manager since 2005. Oseary would become U2's day-to-day manager while McGuinness would have a "chairman" title.

Although the Live Nation involvement isn't official yet, McGuinness did essentially confirm his departure in this statement to the Times:

"It could be seen as slightly poor etiquette for a manager to consider retiring before his artist has split, quit or died, but U2 have never subscribed to the rock 'n' roll code of conduct. As I approach the musically relevant age of 64 I have resolved to take a less hands-on role as the band embark on the next cycle of their extraordinary career.

"I am delighted that Live Nation, who with Arthur Fogel have been our long term touring partners, have joined us in creating this powerful new force in artist management. I have long regarded Guy Oseary as the best manager of his generation, and there is no one else I would have considered to take over the day-to-day running of our business."

Billboard magazine was unable to confirm any more of the management shuffle, but in its article there's additional news about U2's musical plans. Billboard says the next album is tentatively set to be released in April, and U2 is looking for "brand partners" to help announce the album via a Super Bowl TV commercial. Billboard says Oseary is leading those discussions.

So this is obviously huge news, all but confirmed by McGuinness' statement. While you're waiting for the next bit of news to come in, feel free to join your fellow fans who are already discussing this in the @U2 forum.