Linkin Park's confidence in Warner Bros. Records has been restored. The band, who earlier this year angrily demanded a release from its contract with the label, has re-signed with Warner and is expected to release the first album in the new deal by the middle of next year.
According to a report in The New York Times, the band reached a deal last week with Warner that will pay an estimated $15 million advance on its next album and gives the label an option for up to five more albums from the group, one more than was called for in their original contract. The deal also calls for the band's royalty rate to be bumped up to an estimated 20 percent, which nudges the multi-platinum six-member group nearer to the upper echelon in that category.
Neither the label nor the band would comment to the Times on the contract (and neither could be reached by MTV News at press time), but in a joint statement said, "We would like to thank Linkin Park fans worldwide for their continued support. Despite initial concerns after last year's change in ownership, the band is pleased with the direction of the company and in Warner Brothers Records' ability to effectively market their music worldwide under the leadership of [label chairman] Tom Whalley."
The band's feud began in April, when its representatives sent a letter to Warner seeking a cut of the label's upcoming initial stock offering, according to the Times. Warner said no artists would receive any stock proceeds, but the label was open to discussing the band's deal.
Talks broke down, and in May, Linkin Park demanded a release from its contract after intense negotiations with the label collapsed on the eve of the stock sale. The group said in its statement that the cutbacks expected before the IPO would make the company too weak to promote Linkin Park's album and might result in "a failure to live up to W.M.G.'s fiduciary responsibility" to market the band's music. The statement alleged that while the stock offering meant Warner's owners would be "reaping a windfall," the band said, "Linkin Park, their biggest act, will get nothing."
At the time, Warner executives chalked the band's complaints up to what they said was a time-honored negotiating ploy to get a more lucrative deal, one employed in the past by such artists as the Dixie Chicks, Beck and Incubus. The group's members have kept busy during the talks, with Mike Shinoda recently releasing The Rising Tied, the debut album from his hip-hop side-project, Fort Minor (see "Linkin Park MC Gets Director With Flair For Video With Flares"), and singer Chester Bennington recording his first solo track for the upcoming soundtrack to "Underworld: Evolution."