It looks as if Boyz II Men will be able to afford a lot more of those snappy sweaters and pants, especially if you believe reports that they’ve re-signed with Motown for a decidedly adult $30 million. Motown, mortified that any word of the deal had leaked, would only officially admit that it is a seven-album deal, and a staffer insists the number is grossly inflated. But a person close to the group says the figure is absolutely true: ”Boyz II Men is about to become a business.”
There have been only eight larger record deals — all for acts with proven durability. So for four guys with just one record behind them, though a successful one (the 7-million-selling Cooleyhighharmony), this deal sets one heck of a precedent.
Assuming the figure is correct, how much money will the Boyz actually see? According to entertainment lawyer Gil Karson, plenty: ”Even with a superstar producer (probably Babyface) getting a flat fee of several hundred grand per album, and the deal with their publisher (ordinarily 50 percent of song royalties), these guys are each going to be adding an estimated $3 million in their pockets over the seven albums” — regardless of how well the albums actually do. That’s certainly enough to raise Boyz into men.