Wednesday, May 22, 2024

DefJam’s L.A. Reid On Likely Track to Simon Cowell’s “X Factor”


Yesterday in the New York Daily News, my colleague Frank DiGiacomo ran an excellent story about DefJam Records president L.A. Reid. Frank said Reid it torn between accepting judiciary posts either on “American Idol” or on Simon Cowell‘s new “X Factor.”

The fact is, there have been rumors of Reid leaving DefJam and Universal Music Group for months.

But yesterday after Frank’s item appeared, I got a bunch of phone calls. Here’s the consensus: UMG is busy working out a deal for Reid to stay, either in his current position or with his own label like his old LaFace Records.

Second: that DiGiacomo’s list of three failures at DefJam last year are balanced by one huge success: a “360” deal with teen heart-throb Justin Bieber. A ‘360’ deal means everything: DefJam gets money from his records, movies, and merchandise. Bieber may not be our cup of tea, but Reid’s cup runneth over with moolah from this unlikely star.

Third: Mariah Carey‘s new Christmas album is going to be a hit. So the fact that her last album didn’t do well is sort of meaningless.

As for the two different TV shows: Simon Cowell apparently offered Reid a spot first, which kicked “American Idol” into a frenzy. But “AI” already has Jimmy Iovine from Universal as a special mentor. Reid can easily judge “X Factor” even though that show’s recording deal is with Sony/Columbia. After all, new judge Steven Tyler records for Columbia but he’s going to be an “AI” judge. Randy Jackson has had deals at places like Concord Records. So that whole question is a tempest in a teapot.

Frankly, for UMG to lose Reid would be a blow. He has ties to lots of artists. His imprimatur one way or another is worth a lot.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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