As I told you last week, there’s been a tug of war between Sony Music and Warner Music Group over Jay-Z.
But the tug of war is over, sources tell me: Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, with new up-and-coming artists, will go to Sony. His new album, ‘The Blueprint 3,’ will be released by Warner.
Jay-Z bought back ‘Blueprint 3’ from Universal Music for $5 million. So WMG has had to advance him at least that much for the CD. And it’s a one-off deal, just for this recording. Given WMG’s track record, it’s questionable they’ll be able to break even, let alone turn a profit.
For Sony, it’s a win. Roc Nation could supply them with desperately needed new artists. With Jay-Z’s imprimatur, the new artists should have an easier time being heard, and selling music.
Why did Jay-Z go to WMG at all? My guess is that Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs had something to do with it. The two hip-hop stars attended a Lakers game together on May 5’a rarity. But WMG spent $30 million on Combs’ Bad Boy label. They may have pressed him into the role of backchannel diplomat. And it worked.