What looked to be a huge holiday season for Universal Music Group instead turned into a promising 2009 as the record label delayed new releases by U2, Eminem, Dr. Dre and 50 Cent. Of the quartet, U2’s move to 2009 was the least surprising, as the band told fans earlier this year that their new album would be out early in the new year. “I met with the guys in U2, and they say to me, ‘You know what? This album needs two more songs, and it will be exactly what we have in mind.’ I go there and I listen, and I agreed with them,” Interscope/Geffen chairman Jimmy Iovine tells Billboard.com. “It’s a great record, but it deserves the time. Labels need to work with artists to help them achieve their best work, not to jam records out that are half-baked or three-quarters baked.” Thankfully, the band penned 50 to 60 songs for their How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb follow-up, so two more songs shouldn’t be a problem.
In the case of the high-profile returns of Eminem and Dr. Dre, the pair actually sabotaged each other’s release dates, as Dre ceased work on his own Detox to work on Em’s comeback album Relapse. “We only tried to put [Eminem] out this year to replace Dr. Dre, but we got into a quagmire. Eminem was always coming next year,” Iovine says. “But what happened was, I lost Dr. Dre to Eminem. Dre had to stop making his album to finish Eminem’s album. Eminem hit a streak, and when a guy like Eminem gets on fire, you stop everything.” Amazon.com previously predicted that the Slim Shady’s new album would be released December 23rd. As for 50 Cent, the rapper said he wanted to release more singles from his upcoming Before I Self-Destruct before releasing the album. U2, Eminem and 50 Cent are all expected to release their new albums in the first quarter 2009, while Dr. Dre and his perpetually-delayed Detox is more of a guessing game. At least UMG has that whole Chinese Democracy thing to fall back on.