SOUND BITES Weep no more for Mariah Carey. Less than four months since dropped her from its roster after just one album and nine months under contract, paying her $28 million not to make any more records for the label, she’s landed another deal. She signed Wednesday with Universal Music Group’s , home of her pals Ja Rule and Jay-Z. Terms of the new deal were not disclosed, though the Hollywood Reporter quotes insiders who say the deal gives Carey $20 million for three albums with an option for a fourth. That fee is what she was to earn for each album under her multi-disc Virgin contract, but after her breakdown from ”exhaustion” last year and the subsequent flops of the ”Glitter” CD and movie, Virgin decided to cut its losses. Making up for the more modest fee of the Island deal, UMG is giving Carey her own label to run. Overseeing day-to-day operations at the yet-unnamed label will be Jerry Blair, an executive who worked closely with Carey during her decade under contract at Sony.
Carey had already started recording new music a couple weeks ago, she said in a recent message on her website. ”The record she’s working on is going to be a real wide-appeal record,” Blair told the Associated Press. ”There’s no artist who is as successful a global artist. There is no artist that has as wide range of commercial appeal.” Her film career may be another matter. After the disastrous ”Glitter,” Carey got some good notices when ”Wisegirls” (in which she and Mira Sorvino play waitresses at a mob-run eatery) screened at January’s Sundance Film Festival, but that film is bypassing theaters and going straight to HBO this fall, Blair told AP.
The singer was said to be entertaining bids from other major labels, including Elektra and J Records. UMG, however, is considered to be the largest of the multinational music companies, and it promised Carey ”multi-platform integration” across parent company Vivendi Universal’s worldwide print, TV, film, and online outlets, according to a statement Carey’s publicist released Wednesday. ”I’m incredibly happy,” Carey says in the statement. ”It’s a tremendous and unprecedented opportunity to be working in tandem with [UMG’s top execs]. They have collectively helped redefine pop music and I am excited to be part of their family.”…
The Osbournes are going literary. and family have signed a $3 million deal with Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books imprint for two books — a trade paperback tie-in to their MTV show and a hardcover family memoir, featuring contributions from all five Osbournes, including heretofore-untelevised daughter Aimee. (S&S is a division of Viacom, which also owns MTV.) Look for the paperback to hit the shelves in November, with the bio coming next spring….
Hip-hop duo Big Tymers have hit the big tyme by debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart. Their third release, ”Hood Rich,” sold 160,450 copies out of the box, according to SoundScan. That pushes last week’s top-slot debut, Kenny Chesney‘s ”No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems,” down to No. 3 (125,000 sold). ”Ashanti” held at No. 2 (127,000 units). Spider-mania lifted the ”Spider-Man” soundtrack only as high as No. 4 in its first week, selling 112,000 discs. Debuting in fifth place was ballerina-turned-pianist Vanessa Carlton‘s ”Be Not Nobody,” with sales of 102,000.
Rounding out the top 10 were such holdovers as Celine Dion‘s ”A New Day Has Come” (No. 6), ”NOW That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 9” (No. 7), Sheryl Crow‘s ”C’mon, C’mon” (No. 8), ”Josh Groban” (No. 9), and the ”O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack (No. 10). Watch for a possible chart shake-up next week with the releases of Lauryn Hill‘s ”MTV Unplugged 2.0” and Musiq‘s ”Juslisten.”
REEL DEALS The Tribeca Film Festival, organized in part by Robert De Niro, won the endorsement of two former world leaders, Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela, who attended the opening ceremony yesterday at New York’s City Hall, along with such stars as Hugh Grant, Whoopi Goldberg, and Kevin Spacey. This was after Tuesday night festivities in another government building, the State Supreme Courthouse, for a party thrown by Vanity Fair magazine, trying to do for the new film fest what it does every year for the Oscars. It was off to a good start, with a guest list that included festival co-organizers De Niro and Martin Scorsese; Oscar-winners Spacey, Helen Hunt, Hilary Swank, and Marcia Gay Harden; movie folk Lauren Bacall, Billy Crystal, Wes Anderson, Chloe Sevigny, Ellen Barkin, Nora Ephron, and Sidney Lumet, moguls Sumner Redstone and Harvey Weinstein; musicians Sheryl Crow and Lou Reed; comics Jerry Seinfeld and Garry Shandling; and authors Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, and Arthur Miller.
The festival, which runs through Sunday, is meant to pay tribute (and bring back tourist dollars) to Tribeca, the downtown Manhattan neighborhood near Ground Zero where De Niro lives and works. Highlights include the premiere of Grant’s new film, ”About a Boy”; a benefit advance screening of ”Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones”; panel discussions, many of them featuring Scorsese; a Scorsese-curated slate of movies about New York, several new independent movies, and an MTV-sponsored free concert on Friday featuring Crow, Counting Crows, Wyclef Jean, and comics Robin Williams and Jimmy Fallon….