After the announcement that 50 Cent was leaving his deal with Shady/Aftermath/Interscope yesterday hit the internet, people were surprised. 50 also announced that he signed with Caroline Records, an independent label being distributed through Capitol Records/UMG. 50 Cent premiered his new video ‘The Funeral’ with Forbes and also spoke with them about leaving, his new deal, and many other things. Some things that stuck out to me in this article: 50 Cent has a similar label deal for G-Unit as Birdman has for Cash Money, Caroline Records/Capitol doles out only 7% of wholesale per album in exchange for distribution and support. He also owed Interscope another album with his original contract but he was able to leverage his way out of it with his relationship with Eminem & Dr. Dre. Read the whole article below.
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson spent much of his early life yearning for a record deal with one of the major labels. After a run with Universal-backed Interscope that began in 2003 and saw him sell over 30 million albums, he’s spent much of the past few years itching to leave.
Yesterday, he got his wish: he’s departing the label that launched his career to forge ahead as an independent artist. He has signed a worldwide distribution deal with Caroline/Capitol/UMG for G-Unit Records and his own releases, beginning with Animal Ambition, due out on June 3rd.
“It’s freedom to invest in your own ideas,” he told FORBES in his first interview since the news broke. “If ever I had a horse that I was betting on at the track, I’d like to be the horse. Let it be me, goddammit, because I’m going to run as hard as I can.”
He says his deal is structured similarly to Cash Money’s arrangement, which in which Bryan “Birdman” Williams’ label doles out a mere 7% of wholesale per album to Universal in exchange for distribution and support.
In conjunction with Eminem’s Shady Records and Dr. Dre’s Aftermath label, Interscope will continue to release and market 50’s lucrative back catalogue, including his 2003 multiplatinum opus, Get Rich or Die Tryin’.
“50 Cent is, and always will be, a marquee artist for us,” said Steve Berman, Vice Chairman of Interscope/Geffen/A&M, in a press release. “We respect his decision to pursue this new venture and the next chapter in his career, and wish him nothing but the best. He will always be a part of our family.”
The timing of 50’s split with Interscope comes as a bit of a surprise, given that he still owed the label another album. Artists rarely get out of their deals early without paying some sort of fee—five years ago, Jay Z famously bought back the last album he owed Universal for $5 million (and later sold it for $10 million)—but 50 says he didn’t have to fork over any cash.
“I’m a special case and situation,” he explains. “It’s also because of the leverage of having the strong relationships with Eminem and Dr. Dre. They don’t want to me to be uncomfortable. They value our friendship to the point that they would never want [to jeopardize] it over that little bit of money.”
Added Eminem, in a statement: “I’ve developed a great friendship with 50 over the years, and that’s not going to change. We know 50 will have success in his new situation, and we remain supporters of both him and G-Unit.”
Of course, another big reason the split between 50 Cent and Shady/Aftermath/Interscope has been amicable is that all the labels involved have the same parent company (“If it wasn’t all under the Universal umbrella, it wouldn’t work,” 50 admits).
The move gives 50 greater flexibility to pursue the sort of unusual release tactics employed by some of his peers lately—for example, Jay Z’s agreement to release his last album via a Samsung mobile app in exchange for a guarantee that the company would buy 1 million copies at $5 apiece.
It also allows 50 to dictate his own schedule for recording and releasing music videos. The latest example: he was able to offer FORBES the opportunity to debut the video for “Funeral” below.
“It’s having the ability to do that versus, ‘It’s out of the question,’” he says. “Now those options have opened up.”