HITS Daily Double
"We have decided that this is the most prudent course of action for EMI. We wish Mariah the best."
——Alain Levy, EMI Recorded Music Chairman/CEO


Diva's $28 Million Buyout Gives Her a Total of $50 Million to Split
All that Glitter barely turned to Gold, let alone Platinum, for EMI, so the marriage between the music giant's Virgin label and diva Mariah Carey has been annulled.

EMI Recorded Music chief Alain Levy decided the risks weren't worth the benefits of the record-breaking, five-album, $120-million deal, buying out the remainder of the troubled songstress' pact for $28 million. Carey will keep the more than $21 million already paid to her in advances, giving her a total of around $50 million after delivering just a single album.

On the other hand, EMI's exposure could have reached upward of $150-200 million over the course of the contract. Between $13-14 million was spent in marketing costs on Glitter, which sold 2 million worldwide—just over 500k in the U.S. Previous Carey albums, such as Music Box, sold as many as 20 million globally. Legal eagle Don Passman, who did the original deal, also negotiated the buyout for Carey.

Chairman/CEO Levy noted: "We have decided that this is the most prudent course of action for EMI. We wish Mariah the best."

Said Carey, whose representatives insisted the split was mutual: "This is the right decision for me. I look forward to the many new and exciting opportunities which have now been presented to me. I wish Virgin well."

Glitter appeared doomed from the start, with Carey's very public breakdown delaying its release to—of all dates—Sept. 11. The album was a soundtrack for the singer's big-screen bow, which quickly disappeared without a trace.

EMI bosses Levy and David Munns have been making the rounds of the company's worldwide operations, looking for ways to cut costs. EMI Corporate says the $50 million will be taken as a one-time charge for their fiscal year ending March 31. Analysts expect EMI to cut its full-year dividend by as much as 50% when it unveils results in May.

Carey's future is now a matter of heated industry speculation. Although several sources say she and Nancy Berry are shopping themselves as a team, that rumor has been denied. What, if any, labels will be willing to take a chance on her? Will the diva take the biggest payday again or work with someone who can revive her career? Will a player swoop in and grab a bargain? One thing's for sure. There's plenty of action to come.