Megamillion-dollar label deals are a thing of the past. But with Usher, Timberlake and Swift nearing the end of their contracts, this is how majors will have to fight to keep them.
Taylor Swift, Usher and Justin Timberlake are about to enter an all-too-familiar crossroads for pop superstars: Their next albums will also be the last ones due to their respective major labels (Big Machine/Universal for Swift, RCA for Timberlake and Usher).
But unlike the mega-stars of yore, today’s top acts face a different marketplace in which they’re required to work much harder for their hefty advances — with lower sales to show for it. In fact, you would have to go all the way back to 2001 to a find a nine-figure commitment, when Whitney Houston re-upped with Arista for a multi-album deal worth $100 million. Britney Spears recently renewed her deal with RCA for an undisclosed sum, sources tell Billboard. But when Timberlake, Swift and Usher head to the table, what can they expect?
“The trend is definitely toward shorter [term] deals on both sides,” says Donald Passman, an entertainment lawyer at Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown who negotiated Janet Jackson’s $80 million EMI contract in the 1990s and authored the book series All You Need to Know About the Music Business. “The industry is in distress and digital is not picking up the slack, so the big companies are worried about long-term commitments, and the artists tend to take longer between product. Unless you’re Taylor Swift, very few can command a top-of-the-market deal.” Sony Music chief creative officer Clive Davis concurs: “There will be a fair and hard negotiation to re-sign her,” he says.
Today, the high end of a recording contract is a $7 million-plus advance per album, but it’s rare that an artist secures that large a payout without giving up a piece of his or her ancillary income. Indeed, 360 deals are now the norm among newer acts — One Direction, Ed Sheeran and 5 Seconds of Summer all have revenue-sharing agreements with their labels on touring, merch and other back-end fees. So are such hefty upfront payments a thing of the past?
“Each case is different,” offers Kenny Meiselas, a senior partner at Grubman Shire & Meiselas, who represents Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga. “When you have an artist at the peak of their career, I’ve never seen a record company not be open to renegotiating and treating their artist fairly.” Meiselas would know: He just renegotiated Mary J. Blige’s contract with Universal Music Group, moving her from Interscope to Capitol for her anticipated London Sessions album (see story, page 40) in what one source describes as a “very lucrative” deal. Says Meiselas with a smirk: “We figured it out.”
One thing certain about the new contracts is that “marquee artists will own their own masters,” says manager Jim Guerinot, who represented Nine Inch Nails for decades. “When Nine Inch Nails did their deal, they signed for a high royalty with a low advance and they own the master. Artists make most of their money on the road anyway.”
Indeed, adds Joel Katz, chairman of global entertainment and media practice for Greenberg Traurig, who reps Timberlake among other music clients: “Artists will not only want to reserve as many rights as they can, they will also want to retain ownership of their new albums.”
That’s if they choose to stick with a label, rather than taking the DIY route, as acts like Wilco and Prince have done with varying degrees of success. A major facing a defection can offer one more carrot, however: an imprint. Pharrell Williams has one (I Am Other with Columbia) as does Maroon 5′s Adam Levine (222 Records through Interscope). Such deals not only give acts signing power, but allow them to license new releases for “pressing and distribution” (or P&D) deals, which can net as much as an 80 percent to 85 percent profit split, compared with the more standard 50/50 share. However, Timberlake (with Tennman for Interscope) and Usher (with US Records for Sony’s J) have already tried that approach, with little to show for it. Still, labels may look to revive the concept come re-up time.
Resident shows may be an integral part of the Las Vegas experience, but Sin City has also become a popular stop for artist on U.S. tours. Vegas visitors have shown a strong propensity for taking a break from Cirque du Soleil and catching one of their favorite artists as they make a stop on The Strip.
This week’s Vegas concert slate is headed by none other than Justin Timberlake. Timberlake will be performing on Friday, November 28th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. At an average price of $327.39, JT’s show is the most expensive of this week’s Vegas concert tickets. Despite Timberlake’s status as a modern pop icon, there is still the perfect hint of nostalgia in seeing him perform in Vegas. With ex-girlfriend Britney Spears in the middle of a two year residency at Planet Hollywood, it stands to reason that JT also perfectly captures that late 90’s preteen zeitgeist. That same demographic are now 20-somethings making the trip to Vegas. The get-in price for Timberlake’s show is currently $77.
With Justin Timberlake tickets leading the secondary market for Vegas concerts goes well to exemplify the purchasing power of millennials, many of the other concerts in Vegas this week are doing just fine when it comes to ticket demand, despite appealing to more mature demographics. The second most expensive concert in Vegas this week is Stevie Wonder’s show on Saturday, also at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Tickets for this concert currently carry an average price tag of $206.82, with a get-in price of $56.
For the more rebellious Vegas visitor, Alice Cooper will be rocking the Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort on Wednesday, while Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders will be doing the same two nights later on Friday. Both shows have get-in prices of exactly $50 at the moment, but Chrissie Hynde outpaces Alice Cooper by 24.1% when it comes to overall averages. Currently, tickets for Chrissy Hynde’s show carry an average secondary market price of $161.37, compared to $130.05 for Alice Cooper.
If R&B and hip hop are more your speed as opposed to pop or rock, Boyz II Men will make an appearance at the Terry Fator Theatre in the Mirage Hotel and Casino on Saturday, November 29. Despite being one of only four artists to ever hold the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for more than 50 consecutive weeks (the others being Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and Mariah Carey), Boyz II Men is among the least expensive Vegas concert tickets this week, checking in at an average of $106.64. Interestingly enough however, this show actually has the most expensive get-in price of our featured concerts for the week, at $87.
Although average secondary market ticket prices are varying rather substantially, with get-in prices for all of the week’s hottest concerts ranging from $50-87, there is really something for everyone when it comes to Vegas concert tickets this week, regardless of musical taste.
So I haven’t weighed in on this yet, aside from on social media, so I figured its time I do. Justin and Jessica are going to be amazing parents. I’m not sure of Jessica’s upbringing but I know justin was raised with the love and support and child should have. His southern family gave him every thing he needed to become the man before us today, and the knowledge to do the same to his future offspring.
I can can not wait to see the little one, as I’m sure most of you are anxious as well. However with them being as private as they are I’m sure we aren’t going to see much at first.
And I really hope the timberlake keep it casual when naming the tiny timberlake….. We don’t need ” kashmir timberlake” or any weird celebrity trendy name lol
what are your thoughts?
Singer Justin Timberlake is offering his fans the chance to be his road manager for a day while raising money for a music charity.
JT announced the competition on Twitter and fans from all over the world immediately stating pledging funds to the ‘Musicians on Call’ charity which is an organisation that says it is “dedicated to sharing the healing power of music with hospital patients and their friends, family and caregivers”.
Fans were told that the more they donate the more chance they will get to join the former boy band singer in New York for the day during his concert in Brooklyn.
The maximum donation of £5,000 will get that lucky fan 1000 extra entries, a tour microphone signed by Justin along with the campaign hoodie, the t-shirt and a thank you e-card.
Even fans who can’t afford a donation are allowed to take part but they will only have one entry into the prize draw to get up close and personal with the successful singer.
Pop music superstar Justin Timberlake and his family have sold Mirimichi, the golf course they opened in 2009 near the Shelby Forest area where he grew up, to Memphis businessman Fred Edmaiston.
honoring the man responsible for how fabulous JT looks in a suit, Justin and other celebrities gathered in Hollywood last night for the Tom Ford Gala.
Justin Timberlake attends amfAR LA Inspiration Gala honoring Tom Ford at Milk Studios on October 29, 2014 in Hollywood, California.
Wifey was not on his arm for the event, Rumor has it that Mrs.T is expecting ….. we shall have to see!
in the hollywood world a couple is under constant scrutiny for just about everything. and god forbid a female gain two pounds and or wear bigger clothing, she’s assumed pregnant if she does. This week the Timberlakes are the subject of such rumors. OK! magazine is claiming the two are expecting their first….. check out scans below
He’s been bringing sexy back since 2006, and last night was no exception.
Before Justin Timberlake’s first New Zealand show at Vector Arena, my mum texted me. “That’s so cool!,’ she said, when she found out I was going. “After Michael Jackson, he is the best.”
Timberlake’s track record is certainly impressive. After smashing out hits like Cry me a River and Rock your Body, the pop star took a five-year break to focus on making movies before last year’s record The 20/20 Experience became the best selling album of 2013.
Wearing a black shirt with white lightning bolts, black pants, white sneakers and that trademark fedora hat, Timberlake strolled onto stage and launched straight into song.
Backed by his band the Tennessee Kids, and accompanied by a troupe of dancers, he strutted, shimmied, crooned, and belted out hit after hit during a high-energy set that lasted almost two hours.
From the second song, Rock your Body, Timberlake had the crowd on their feet. A 3D digital landscape rolled behind him, flicking from close-ups to his band and him, to futuristic machinery and patterns.
There wasn’t much time wasted on chit-chat. Apart from the odd “Did you come here to party tonight, Auckland?” the show was mostly about that voice, and those sweet, sweet dance moves.
One lucky girl in the crowd looked like she was going to pass out when Timberlake announced it was her 21st birthday, and got down off the stage to get a selfie with her. It was kind of cute that she tried to fix her hair before Timberlake took the shot.
The audience was a real mix of ages, and there were probably only slightly more girls than guys. One dude showed his age (or was it concert-going nous?) when, during a song when Timberlake asked the crowd to raise their cellphones, he raised a lighter and continued to take photos with his smartphone. Now that’s thinking.
At Perth Arena, the stage moved to sail Timberlake across the room. There were no such bells and whistles here, and it would have been nice to have some kind of extension out into the crowd, like he did in 2007.
Timberlake’s musical skills were showcased when he played a couple of songs – including hit Senorita – on piano himself, along with a remix of What Goes Around…Comes Around on the guitar.
“I just love you guys so much. I promise it won’t be seven more years,” he said, before closing with Suit & Tie.
Only, of course he wasn’t done. After being stomped back on to stage, he finished with Sexy Back and one of his newest hits, Mirrors.
A slick show, by one of the biggest pop stars of our generation. And there was barely a crotch-grab in sight.
Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel have begun legal proceedings in Ireland over an article that appeared in Heat magazine, according to the Irish Independent. Biel and Timberlake are alleging defamation in relation to a story and picture that was in last month’s edition of the publication.
The article apparently contained quotes attributed to Biel. Although a British publication, Heat is also sold in Ireland and throughout Europe and published by a German company.
Entertainment pointed out that due to the nature of the suit, the site could not republish the article in question or describe its contents. Glasgow’s Evening Times reported that the suit was filed with the High Court in Dublin against the Bauer Media Group, which publishes Heat. The Evening Times quoted the couple’s lawyer, Paul Tweed of Johnsons Solicitors, with regards to the filings.
The paper also noted the claims were filed separately — one on behalf of Timberlake and one on behalf of Biel. Tweed said it could take more than a year before the case actually goes to trial.
As the Irish Times notes, the couple are celebrating their second wedding anniversary this month. They were married October 2012 in Puglia, Italy. The high-profile couple is frequently in the media, including on the pages of The Inquisitr.
The Irish Times describes Tweed as an international media lawyer and reports Johnsons Solicitors will represent Biel and Timberlake in proceedings throughout Europe. Despite the potential for delay in the commencement of court proceedings, the Irish Times quotes Tweed as wanting a quick resolution to the suit.
According to Biography, Biel was acting and modeling as a pre-teen before landing on the family drama 7th Heaven at the age of 14. She was in the series from its debut until departing in its sixth season. Since then, she has had a variety of film roles, including Valentine’s Day and the 2012 reboot of Total Recall. Biel is 32.
Timberlake was similarly a child performer, appearing on The Mickey Mouse Club and as a member of the boy band ‘N Sync. He went on to have a successful music career as a solo artist. Timberlake is 33.