Post Malone co-manager Dre London took a dig at the artist’s label, Republic Records, and parent company Universal Music Group (UMG) for holding up an already-completed album.
Responding to fans’ persistent messages via social media inquiring as to when Post Malone’s fourth studio album will drop, London posted on Instagram: “Album has been done!! We Ready!! But seems @republicrecords @universalmusicgroup isn’t🤷🏽♂️ Posty fans.”
The forthcoming release would mark the follow-up to 2019’s “Hollywood’s Bleeding,” which yielded the hit songs “Circles,” “Wow” and “Goodbyes” on its way to selling more than 3 million units in the U.S., per the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
London continued in the caption: “No more need to press me anymore we did our part!! Now it’s time for the label to get the business right before we drop BIG Album! Hit them up!”
Representatives for Republic and Universal did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.
So what’s going on behind the scenes? It would seem as if the label hasn’t provided approval of the album in order for it to be released. Such a sign-off is typical in recording contracts and signifies the official acceptance of a project, which will count against the artist’s obligations to the company. But according to a source privy to the situation, Post’s original deal has been fulfilled and terms for his future with the label and UMG have not been agreed upon, causing delays in the music’s release. The album, says the insider, has been ready for over a month.
Typically, an artist of Post’s stature would be looking at a three-album firm deal with options for a fourth and fifth release. His astronomical success provides much leverage when it comes to such an extension, and it appears that is ultimately delaying the music’s release. Indeed, London’s IG message alludes to “get[ting] the business right.”
Post has released three albums and a mixtape (typically not counted as an album release per the recording contract) through Republic. Recording agreements vary greatly from artist to artist and often include a provision that improves terms after a certain sales or other threshold has been passed. At times, successful artists’ contracts are renegotiated regardless of any prior provision if the contract is nearing the end of its term, as the label may want to secure a new deal before the old one expires. (Labels learned a strong lesson in the late 1980s, when Tom Petty signed a new deal with Warner Bros. Records years before his deal with MCA Records had expired, and remained with Warner for the rest of his career.)
Thus, it’s possible that Post and London could use the new album as leverage for a new deal. Sources say Universal revised its contracts in the wake of Frank Ocean’s 2016 departure from its Def Jam subsidiary, which saw the artist fulfilling his contract with the label with “Endless,” an album filled primarily with meandering instrumentals and tossed-off songs, and just days later releasing “Blonde” — which was widely recognized as one of the best albums of the year — under his own label via Apple Music.
It is possible, although much less likely, that Republic has rejected the album on musical grounds. Labels traditionally retain the right not to release albums that contracted artists under submit, and the wording in contracts has become more specific over the years, particularly in the wake of Lou Reed’s 1975 double album “Metal Machine Music” (which consisted of more than an hour of feedback and electronic sounds instead of conventional songs) and Neil Young’s esoteric 1980s albums, which actually led to a multi-million-dollar lawsuit from his label at the time, Geffen, accusing him of submitting “music uncharacteristic of [his] previous recordings” and thus less commercially viable. These days, such situations are often resolved amicably, with a rejected album being released independently and not counting toward the artist’s major-label contract; or less amicably, with the artist re-recording, adding or deleting songs until the label approves it (and usually being unhappy about doing so).
London, who also reps Tyga via his London Ent firm, posted the message around 11am PT accompanying a photo of himself and Post that was geo-tagged for Tulum, Mexico. Post is co-managed by Austin Rosen at Electric Feel Entertainment, who was named Variety‘s Hitmakers Manager of the Year for 2021. London received the honor in 2018.
Former HBO Exec Len Amato Joins MasterClass as Chief Content Officer
Len Amato, a 13-year veteran of HBO, joined MasterClass as chief content officer at the company that sells subscriptions to celebrity-led online courses.
In the new role, Amato will head up MasterClass’ content organization and help lead content innovation, strategy and development of class launches. He reports to David Rogier, founder and CEO of MasterClass.
Amato formerly served as president of HBO Films, Miniseries and Cinemax before he departed in late 2020. Most recently, Amato was an executive producer on HBO’s upcoming limited series “The White House Plumbers” through his production company Crash&Salvage, where he will continue to produce independently.
MasterClass provides access to more than 150 online courses led by experts and celebs including James Cameron, Shonda Rhimes, Ken Burns, Jodie Foster, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, Nas, Gordon Ramsay, Bob Iger, Metallica, Issa Rae, RuPaul, and Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. An annual membership to MasterClass starts at $180/year.
“Len has been a pioneer in creating premium, original content, and I’m thrilled to welcome him to the team,” Rogier said in a statement. “His passion for storytelling, proven leadership and ability to attract talent will help us expand and innovate, providing even more ways to transform our members’ lives through our content.”
“MasterClass is setting a new standard for premium content with its cinematic value and ability to intimately connect world-class instructors with its members,” Amato said. “I’m excited to continue to democratize learning by bringing these stories to life in new ways and scale the impact of our content.”
Amato joined HBO in 2007 as a senior VP and was promoted to president of HBO Films the following year. Under his leadership, HBO Films earned best television movie Emmys for originals including “Grey Gardens,” “Temple Grandin,” “Game Change, “Behind the Candelabra,” “The Normal Heart” and “Bessie.”
Prior to joining HBO, Amato served as president of Spring Creek Productions. His producer and executive producer credits include “Analyze This” and “Analyze That,” “Possession,” “Deliver Us From Eva,” “Rumor Has It,” “Blood Diamond” and “The Astronaut Farmer.” Amato also was story editor for Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Productions. He started his film career in New York as a story analyst for various independent producers and studios. Prior to his career in the film industry, Amato was a musician and actor.
Music Industry Moves: FKA Twigs Partners With Atlantic Records
Along with her “Caprisongs” mixtape on Friday came the news that FKA Twigs has “partnered with Atlantic Records for this next exciting phase of her art,” according to the announcement. In the U.K., she will continue to release music via the Young label (formerly Young Turks) through Beggars Group.
“FKA twigs is the kind of artist you dream of signing — one with truly original vision, voice, and presence,” said Atlantic chairman-COO Julie Greenwald. “She’s among the most compelling talents, always pushing her creative envelope to deliver emotionally honest music that’s both intensely personal and universal. We’re thrilled that she’s chosen Atlantic to be her home as she continues on her fantastic musical adventure.”
“The progression of FKA twigs’ music over the past decade has been extraordinary,” said chairman-CEO Craig Kallman. “She’s never content to stay in one place – constantly crossing musical boundaries, embracing fresh sounds, telling new stories, and exploring what’s next. An amazing vocalist, songwriter, lyricist, and producer, she’s barely scratched the surface of her potential, and we’re incredibly excited to see what she’ll be bringing her fans in the years to come.”
+ Artist-services company AWAL has promoted Jennifer Kirell to senior vice president of catalog & retail marketing. Based in New York, she will report directly to Ron Cerrito, president of AWAL North America, and oversee and support artist and label partners. Prior to joining AWAL, Kirell spent 11 years with Sony Music Entertainment at Legacy Recordings, where she led global marketing campaigns and audience development strategies for artists including Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash and others. Cerrito said, “Jennifer is a goal minded, follow-through obsessed, results oriented, serial over achiever with a deep understanding of modern music marketing. She is also a thoughtful leader and people manager. We are proud Jen is a member of our executive team and look forward to continuing to redefine catalog and retail marketing into the future.”
The 2021 deal that saw Kobalt selling AWAL to Sony for $430 million remains under review by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority.
+ RCA Records has named Alex John director of publicity. She joins after two years at Red Bull Records, where she worked with Blxst, the Aces and producer WondaGurl. Over the course of her seven years in the business has also worked for Listen Up (where she worked with Martin Solveig, Kevin Saunderson, Jamie Jones and others), FYI Brand Group (Jhené Aiko, Tyga, DJ Khaled) and M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment (Sprite, Coca-Cola, WAV Media).