50 Cent Leaves Interscope Records

Hey guys, I’ve been away from blogging for a while as I wanted to take a break to focus on my Uni work but I’m back now and planning to do 2 or 3 blogs a week. So here’s my comeback blog. Enjoy.

On the 20th of February, 50 Cent (aka Curtis James Jackson III) announced that he had left Interscope Records (part of Universal Music Group). He has also left Shady Records (Eminem’s label) and Aftermath Entertainment (owned by Dr Dre), both of whom are distributed by Universal. 50 Cent had been with Interscope for 12 years and released 4 albums with them, including his 2003 six-times Platinum album, ‘Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. His studio albums alone have sold over 21 million units.

He has now signed a Worldwide distribution and services agreement for his own label, G-Unit Records, with Caroline Records who are the Independent Services division of Capitol Music Group, and are also also owned by Universal. This deal is for his own releases, as well as other artist’s releases on his label. This deal will start with his upcoming album ‘Animal Ambition’ that is due out on June 3rd.

The deal with Caroline is structured similarly to Cash Money’s deal with Universal where he pays 7% of the album’s earnings to them, in exchange for the distribution and support. However, Interscope will continue to release and market his back catalogue.

He still owes Interscope another album, according to his contract, and normally artists have to pay a fee to get out the deal early but according to 50 Cent,  he didn’t pay anything. This is most likely because his back catalogue are still highly profitable. He has also stated:

“I’m a special case and situation. It’s also because of the leverage of having the strong relationships with Eminem and Dr. Dre. They don’t want me to be uncomfortable. They value our friendship to the point that they would never want to jeopardize it over that little bit of money.” (Hip Hop Wired)

So, it seems to have been a sensible business decision by Universal and it comes back to that age-old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” He has also stated that it all ended on good terms as all the associated labels are under the same umbrella (Universal) and, if that wasn’t the case, there might have been some animosity.

He has had issues with Interscope since his 2005 album ‘The Massacre’ didn’t do as well as his 2003 album ‘Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ which, as previously mentioned, became 6 times platinum. These issues increased as his 2009 album ‘Before I Self Destruct’ became his least-successful album. His 5th album was delayed multiple times and in November 2011, the album’s release was cancelled all together. A track from the album was leaked, apparently by Interscope themselves, and he became so infuriated that he ranted about it on Twitter and threatened his label with leaking an un-released Dr Dre single.

“50 has always been honest about his relationship with Interscope. When things weren’t going well he spoke out about it. I think honestly, I feel like 50 probably outgrew Interscope. The business mind that he’s developed over the years, you know? And he’s a master at branding. He always has been. And I don’t think we’ve seen the success from him in recent years that he had in the past years. And perhaps a lot of that may have to do with that relationship.” (Sway Calloway – MTV host and radio personality)

This statement is backed up by the fact that 50 Cent currently has a net worth of $260 million, which he earned his net worth through lucrative endorsement deals and millions in record sales.

This decision to leave the safety of a Major label gives him more freedom to try different tactics when releasing his album, such as teaming up with brands (like Jay-Z and Samsung) and doing no publicity at all (like Beyonce). A representative for Caroline Records has already said that 50 Cent’s plans for the future are “as exciting and innovative as you can imagine.” This new found freedom also allows him to organise his own release schedule for albums & videos etc.

50 Cent said backstage at South By South West:

“It’s great. I choose everything: what to release and when to release it. The fun part is that there doesn’t have to be a schedule. There’s no timeline. If I write a record and I want to put it out, I’ll put it out.” (Billboard)

For a while now, 50 Cent has been teasing the release of his album ‘Street King Immortal’ but has now said that ‘Animal Ambition’ will act as his viral marketing campaign and he will then release the previously teased album. ‘Street King Immortal’ is set for release this year and will feature appearances from Lil Kim, Akon and Busta Rhymes, to name a few.

50 Cent - Animal Ambition

Above is the artwork for ‘Animal Ambition’ and on March 18th he will release two new tracks, along with videos for ‘Hold On’ and ‘Don’t Worry ‘Bout It’. A new song from the album will be released every Tuesday until May 20th with the album due on June 3rd. He is also giving away two tracks away for free with every pre-order from March 18th. He will be premiering new songs and videos every week up until the release date.

This blog was mainly focusing on 50 Cent leaving Interscope, so if you would like to know more about what the album will be like, you can click here and you can read about the release of his own line of headphones here.

Here is his new video for ‘Funeral’, the first video since he left Interscope.