Jay-Z Vacates Def Jam Presidency
Thu, 27 Dec 2007 09:54:48
Jay-Z has decided to step down as the president of Def Jam after three years of balancing executive work with personal projects like the recently released American Gangster album.
"It's time for me to take on new challenges," Carter said in a statement alongside Island Def Jam chairman/CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid. "I am pleased to have had the opportunity to build upon the Def Jam legacy, helping to move the company into a new era of artistic success."
Reid added, "Jay made it clear to us that he feels the time has come to take on different challenges in his life. While we regret his decision to move on, we certainly respect it."
The New York Times had a different take on the pending split, quoting an anonymous source as saying that Universal declined to renew Jay-Z's contract after he asked for more money. (His current deal spread $10 million over three years if certain financial goals were met.) The mixed results of Jay-Z's tenure also might have had something to do with their reluctance.
While Rihanna—a Jigga discovery—has been a resounding success, recent records from such established artists as Beanie Sigel and Freeway have been met with sluggish sales figures.
On a positive note, Jay-Z still owes Universal at least one album through Roc-A-Fella Records, the label he co-founded in 1996. (Jay-Z's stake was sold in late 2004, a decision echoed by his business partners, Damon Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke.)
—The ARTISTdirect Staff