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Robbie Williams plans label escapology

Robbie Williams plans label escapology

Co-manager Tim Clark says the singer has written a "raft of songs" for the follow-up to 2006's Rudebox and will go into the studio in March or April.

"There may be a song with Guy [Chambers], he's done a lot of writing with his mates Soul Mekanik and there's a very interesting song with Mark Ronson," Clark notes. "He's now looking at producers. Nothing further has been said yet, but he's talking to a lot of interesting people."

The release of this new album will leave just another retrospective left in the ground-breaking, multi-rights deal Williams and IE signed with EMI in 2002, but the possibility of linking up again with the UK major at some level for further releases is not being ruled out.

"I don't think anything is out of the question," says Clark. "For [co-manager] David [Enthoven] and myself, how we'd like to see things is pretty clear. First of all we start from the very simple place, which has almost become a cliche, source and destination - artist and fan - and the people in the middle are simply the gloop and have to justify the roles they have."

IE is in ongoing discussions with EMI about this next album - the first Williams release it will handle under Terra Firma ownership - as Clark says, "We simply have to make sure that this album has as good a job done on it as is possible, that Rob's interests are really looked after and that we sell as many as the market will allow us to."

One certainty about how Williams and IE will proceed once the current deal is up is that, in any new agreement, ownership of the masters of new recordings will stay with the artist and be licensed out. Although EMI owns the recordings from Williams' first deal, covering his first four solo albums, Clark points out the rights to the masters in the still-running second deal will revert.

"It's a foolhardy artist who allows their rights simply to be owned by a record company," says Clark, adding IE is determined to take Williams' independence from a record company even further with future releases.

"The elephant needs to leave the room, the elephant being the record company," says Enthoven, with Clark declaring "the old-fashioned record company deal is not something Robbie Williams would consider".

"It makes no sense for him to do that. He would expect us, with his full input, to construct something that is right for him," says Clark. "When we did what was a sort of quasi-360-deal with EMI he was part of that deal. Later, we will be sitting down with him and saying, 'Okay, what's next?'"

EMI's possible involvement with Williams' career in the future could be in a distribution link-up. "He would insist on us being with the best distributor," says Clark. "That might well be EMI's distribution, we don't know, or Universal's, but it is actually choosing and then pricing that. Our thing is to get great services at keen prices."

Besides plotting out his future path as a recording artist, IE is also now looking for a new publishing deal for Williams, with the previous deal with what was BMG Music Publishing and then Universal Music Publishing having concluded.

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