Now that Jay-Z and his Auto-Tune-less Blueprint 3 are on the market — Jay bought out the remainder of his Island Def Jam contract — a pair of major labels are reportedly fighting it out to nab him and the new LP, with conflicting sources insisting that both Warner Music Group and Sony Music are close to a deal.
According to Billboard, a distribution deal between Jay-Z's Roc Nation — the product of the rapper's 360 contract with Live Nation — and Sony Music's Epic Records is "95% complete," a source involved with the negotiations said. Some factors that make it seem like Jigga is Sony-bound are that his close friend Rick Rubin is the co-chairman of Sony's Columbia Records, Sony CEO Howard Stringer and Roc Nation partner Jay Brown have been seen dining together in New York and Los Angeles and Roc Nation artist Amanda Ghost doubles as the President of Epic Records. Also, one small detail: his wife Beyoncé is signed to Colombia Records.
However, the New York Daily News tells a different story. The newspaper reports that Jay-Z is in secret talks with Warner Music Group's Vice President Lyor Cohen and Executive Vice President Kevin Liles — the rapper's former managers — about possibly signing with the label's Atlantic Records. According to the NYDN, that deal could include Jay-Z getting his own record label under the WMG umbrella, dubbed Carter Music Group. "Jay knows Lyor and Kevin from back when they all worked together at Def Jam, and he obviously wants to work something out with his friends," the "insider" told the Daily News. "He wants to get the dream team back together."
Neither Roc Nation nor both major labels commented on the reports. This all sounds like textbook "bidding war" to Rock Daily, but it'll be interesting to see which option Jay-Z will choose, if any.