A search-party may still be on the hunt for Rihanna‘s talent, yet it’s hard to deny — she’s a success. A major one at that.
As such, it’s intriguing to learn that the star may not only have left her longtime recording home Def Jam, but done so with minimal volume.
Details after the jump…
Remember, exactly one year ago, when we reported Roc Nation had announced the formal establishment of their own record label? Well, now it appears they’ve secured their banner act…RiRi.
Some may be wondering: but, isn’t she signed to Roc Nation already?
Yes, however -prior to now (and prior to the launch of the Roc’s new label) – it was solely in a managerial and A&R’ing capacity.
Yet, according to Complex, the 26-year-old is now all-Roc everything.
When Rihanna first signed her record deal with Def Jam in 2005, she said then-label-president Jay Z wouldn’t let her out of the office until the 17-year-old signed on the dotted line. Six months later her debut album Music of the Sun hit the charts. Since then, she released all seven of her albums—including 2012’s Unapologetic—on Def Jam. But much has changed since then.
In 2009, Jay left his presidential role at Def Jam for his own Roc Nation label, formed as part of his multi-million-dollar contract with Live Nation. In October 2010, Rihanna parted ways with her former manager Marc Jordan and signed with Jay’s Roc Nation management team.
Earlier this year there were big changes at Island Def Jam Music Group. CEO Barry Weiss stepped down and Universal Music Group, the corporate parent of IDJMG, dissolved the company into three distinct record labels: Def Jam, Island, and Motown. As a result Rihanna—along with Kanye West and some others—left Island Def Jam and joined CEO Steve Bartels at the now-revamped Def Jam with No I.D. and Kyambo “Hip Hop” Joshua serving as executive Vice Presidents and heads of A&R.
But now it appears that Rihanna has very quietly made another move. Within the past few weeks, her Roc Nation website profile has been updated to specify that she’s not just managed but also officially signed to the label—joining the likes of Calvin Harris, DJ Mustard, J. Cole, Jay Electronica, Rita Ora, and of course, Jay Z. Meanwhile, the Def Jam website now lists Rihanna under “Legacy” section (past artists), along with folks like Amerie, Ashanti, and Slick Rick.
Rihanna’s publicists at 42 West have yet to confirm, but we reached out to some well-placed sources who confirmed that Rihanna is now a Roc Nation artist—signed to both the label and the management company. Which makes sense—having fulfilled her Def Jam album contract, she’s back with Hov at the Roc.
Fascinating stuff and highly likely too as both Def Jam and Roc Nation both sit under Universal Music Group. Hence the process and legalities attached to shifting are much simpler than had she inked a deal at a UMG rival group such as Sony or Atlantic.
In any case, it’s always interesting to see what effect, if any, such big business moves will have on an artist’s music and brand.
On the one hand, reliable word tells us Rih’s ship pretty much as been running as a well-oiled machine for sometime, with her own team (within and outside her label) pulling the strings. As such, there’s every chance there won’t actually be much “different” in the grand scheme of things.
That said, on the other hand, there’s the fact that the Roc Nation label is essentially a new entity – a fact which, in itself, carries a degree of risk.
Needless to say, it’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out. And, it’s confirmed that we won’t have to wait too long, as the model is working on two new albums.