Ozzy Osbourne Drops Lawsuit Against AEG After Company Ends Block-Booking Policy
Heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne dropped his lawsuit against live entertainment producers AEG on Friday, September 21, over its block-booking policy, according to Variety. The practice was actually part of a long-running turf war between AEG and rivals Azoff MSG Entertainment, and the singer’s suit was designed to stand up for artists.
The lawsuit was originally filed in March after Ozzy’s manager and wife, Sharon Osbourne, got upset while booking his farewell tour, No More Tours 2, after receiving contracts to sign that stated he could not play at London’s O2 Arena if he didn’t also play the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Prior to filing the official suit, Sharon had written a letter to AEG in February that she shared with the press that stated artists should always come first and that “there’s enough for everyone without [AEG] trying to monopolize the world of entertainment,” reported Variety in a different piece.
“This is a staggering attempt to blackmail Ozzy into playing your venue in Los Angeles. It is also a complete abuse of bargaining power and not conducive to a free market. If you do not confirm the date for Ozzy at the O2 in London then I will be forced to take legal action against AEG Live! without delay.”
At the time, AEG CEO Jay Marciano responded to Sharon’s letter by saying that he agreed with her, explaining that the dispute is really between the Forum and the Staples Center and not individual artists.
“We long for the days when artists and fans came first,” he said. “P.S. The other guys started this!”
AEG reportedly began its block-booking policy in July of 2017 after finding out that its main California competitor, Azoff MSG Entertainment, allegedly had a similar policy in place that required artists who wanted to play at Madison Square Garden in New York City to also perform at the Forum in L.A., which the chairman and CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment, Irving Azoff, has denied.
However, once AEG canceled the block-booking policy regarding the O2 Arena and the Staples Center last week, there was no need for Ozzy’s lawsuit to continue.
“If that’s gone, there is no further need for litigation,” said the former Black Sabbath frontman’s attorney, Dan Wall, to Variety. “Sharon and Ozzy are pleased that there is no longer anything to litigate.”
The case was dismissed with prejudice, which means that the Osbournes cannot refile the lawsuit.
On Saturday, September 22, AEG released a statement saying that its policy was “an appropriate, lawful and effective competitive response to Irving Azoff’s pressure tactics seeking to force artists into the Forum. If those tactics resurface, we will redeploy our policy as needed.”
Ozzy’s No More Tours 2 jaunt is currently making stops at concert venues in the United States through the end of October. Starting in January, the 69-year-old rocker will play gigs in Europe and Australia.