Big Deal Coming Janet Jackson's Way

Control was the album that made Janet a serious contender

Janet Jackson, whose contract with Virgin Records ran out

after the release of Janet. is currently negotiating a new contract with

that Thorn EMI owned record company. The new contract is estimated by industry

experts consulted by Reuters to be worth between $80 million to $90 million.

"Negotiations are still proceeding,'' a Thorn EMI spokeswoman told


If the negotiations are successfully concluded, Jackson's

new deal will top those made a few years back by Madonna, as well as the artist

some of us still call Prince. Although Prince's promo team hyped his old deal

at being worth more than $100 million, that turned out to indeed be hype. Not

even Janet's brother Michael has a deal this sweet.

"$90 million is what's

talked about," said Nikko Securities music industry analyst Dennis Exton. "But

I think they'll settle for a bit below.'' Nikko's Exton said he would expect a

new contract for Jackson would require three to four albums, one or two global

tours and two or three music videos. Other sources familiar with the industry

said the deal is likely to come in closer to $80 million.

Reports that

PolyGram, where Janet Jackson made her start on the company's A&M label, and

the new David Geffen/Steven Spielberg/Jeffrey Katzenberg-owned DreamWorks have

dropped out of the bidding could hold down the price. PolyGram declined to

comment, and officials of DreamWorks could not be reached.

Renewing its

contract with Jackson is extremely important to Thorn EMI. The sister of pop

superstar Michael Jackson is a big seller in the key U.S. market, an area where

the company's EMI Music division has traditionally been weak. She has been with

Virgin since 1991, and is the biggest artist on a roster that also includes the

Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Blur and the Smashing Pumpkins.