20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

It's 30 years since The Rolling Stones secured a whopping great £17m recording contract with CBS, the deal coinciding with a decline in sales of new Stones albums and a thinning out of releases, but that was the gamble. The huge sum's since been dwarfed by a number of unimaginable deals – and here's a selection.

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Added: 26 Jun 2013

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

Not actually being alive is no barrier to bagging these kinds of deals, as Michael Jackson proved in 2010 when "he" signed a £164m contract with Sony Music. Obviously it was his estate that inked the deal that gives Sony access to a presumably still lucrative back catalogue and any future releases, whatever they may be.

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Added: 4 Oct 2013

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

"I am rich beyond my wildest dreams," claimed Robbie Williams when he announced his £80m contract with EMI in 2002. It was a deal for four albums and Williams came up with the goods, eventually. The final album, 2009's 'Reality Killed The Video Star', was withheld in protest at Guy Hands' handling of EMI's assets.

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Added: 19 Jan 2012

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

Jackson eclipsed U2's 1993 deal with Polydor, pegged at £130m, which was rewarded with the 'Zooropa' album. You win some, you lose some.

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Added: 25 Apr 2012

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

Another mammoth deal was slapped on Whitney Houston's desk in 2001, with Arista breaking their own bank to dole out £70m in exchange for a slew of new albums and a greatest hits.

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Added: 13 Feb 2012

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

Weird one, this. In 2001, Virgin gave Mariah Carey £50m for five albums; within 12 months they were paying her £17m to get rid after the relative lack of success of her album 'Glitter'.

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Added: 25 May 2011

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

In 1996, £42m bought Polygram the rights to the next six Elton John albums and his stellar back catalogue.

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Added: 1 Feb 2013

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

Dr Dre made hay with the success of his label Aftermath, cutting Interscope in to the tune of 30% in 2001 for a reported £25m.

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Added: 30 Mar 2012

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

Aerosmith signed a £20m deal with Columbia in 1991, but the label had to wait five years to even get hold of their charges, as the US rockers laboured over the final albums in their Geffen contract.

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Added: 26 May 2011

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

It gets sort of confusing, but apparently REM held the record for most lucrative contract for a while when they fleeced Warner Bros for £50m in 1996. All that cash on post-96 REM.

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Added: 30 Sep 2013

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

Bruce Springsteen pocketed £95m in 2005 when Columbia saw there was life in the old dog yet. Still looks like a fair investment, with 'Wrecking Ball' continuing the good business last year.

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Added: 5 Nov 2012

Photo: Tom Martin/NME

20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

Famously canny businessman Jay Z chiselled £95m out of Live Nation in 2008, founding his label Roc Nation in a 360 deal.

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Added: 4 Oct 2013

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

Another all-round deal saw Live Nation stump up £75m in 2007 for the rights to the next three Madonna albums and the privilege of promoting her gigs and licensing her name.

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Added: 18 Jul 2012

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

In 2012, Cash Money forked out £95m just to make sure they kept Lil Wayne on the roster, committing him to a four-album deal.

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Added: 29 Aug 2011

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

Hard to imagine now, but back in the mid-90s Janet Jackson was hot property. Virgin Records repeatedly sweetened her deal, with the £50m they paid in 1996 the biggest sum.

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Added: 18 May 2011

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

You can imagine how delighted Warner Bros were with their £65m 1992 outlay when, three years later, Prince started swanning about in public with the word 'Slave' scrawled on his cheek in protest at the label's treatment of his output, and refused to play any 'Prince' songs live.

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Added: 23 Jan 2013

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

Metallica got their hands on a reported £40m when they settled on a new deal with Elektra Records in 1995, having previously attempted to free themselves from their contract.

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Added: 21 Apr 2011

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

Never one to shy away from earning pots of cash, in 1992 Barbra Streisand secured herself a £40m contract with Columbia Records, the label she'd been with throughout her career. Last year she signed again.

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Added: 17 May 2012

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

Before the Stones were sweeping up all the cash in the industry, there was crooner Neil Diamond signing a £15m deal with spendthrift Columbia in 1981.

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Added: 9 Mar 2009

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20 Of The Biggest Ever Recording Contracts

Also in the mix back then was Diana Ross. Finally leaving Motown at the turn of the 80s, just after the release of Chic collaboration 'Diana', Ross was wooed by RCA to the tune of (around) £13m. Berry Gordy wanted her to stick around but couldn't match RCA's spending power. You've either got it or you ain't.

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Added: 13 Feb 2012

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