After weeks of speculation, Virgin Records has reported that it has terminated its multi-album, multi-million-dollar contract with Mariah Carey. The negotiations were described as “amicable,” and Carey said in a statement, “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.”
Carey signed a contract with the label last April after leaving Columbia Records, her label of ten years where she emerged as the best-selling female performer of all time with 140 million albums and singles sold worldwide and a Number One single every year for the last ten years.
Based on that past performance, Virgin inked the singer to a deal that would have paid her $81.6 million for four albums. The settlement terminating her contract pays the singer $28 million, and she was paid an additional $21 million when the contract was signed last year.
Carey’s first release for the label was the ill-fated Glitter, the soundtrack to the film of the same name in which Carey starred. While the record was originally due last August, Carey suffered an “emotional and physical breakdown” weeks before its release, causing the album and film to be pushed back, with the soundtrack eventually being released on September 11th and the film on the 21st. The album sold far below expectations but did go double platinum (sales of 2 million) in a year when the music industry in general did poorly, down five percent from the year before.
EMI, which owns Virgin, suffered a twenty percent loss, leading to the firing of CEO Ken Berry, who was behind the Carey deal. Regarding the Carey contract, EMI’s new Chairman and CEO Alain Levy said in a statement, “We have decided that this is the most prudent course of action for EMI. We wish Mariah the best.”