Today’s front page of The Sun screams: “£90m Adele – superstar’s record British music deal.” It goes on to quote a ‘Sony Music source’ as saying: “We’ve secured Adele, who’s without doubt the biggest music star in a generation. This is massive.”
Leaving aside the likelihood of music business executives talking in such uniquely tabloid terms, is the story true?
Well, if it is, no one seems to want to say so. When contacted by Music Week, Adele’s PR and XL Recordings – Adele’s current label – would only issue “No comments”. Meanwhile, Jonathan Dickins, Adele’s manager at September Management, and Sony Music did not return requests for comment.
And yet, the likelihood of Adele signing to Sony has been openly discussed in the music business since before she released her blockbusting 25 album last year.
The singer’s brief appearance at Sony’s BRIT Awards aftershow party in February prompted several executives to openly joke about how she’d have to attend for longer next time. And Music Week sources suggest a deal was actually done last year, although for a sum closer to £80 million than £90 million.
Most intriguing of all is perhaps the suggestion that that deal could cover as few as two albums. Although anyone who thinks £40-45m per album sounds a bit steep should really do the maths: 25 has already sold around 20 million copies worldwide – and, with it yet to debut on streaming services, that’s around £200 million in sales revenue straight off the bat.
You can see why anyone, especially Sony – who, as Adele’s US label already own a large piece of that business – would want to buy into that. And Sony’s signing of Robbie Williams – as revealed by Music Week – shows that the major is very much in the market for superstar deals.
But then no one can look at XL and suggest that they haven’t done a good job up to this point. Until someone decides to comment officially, looks like we’ll just have to watch this space…