Music industry Web site Hits Daily Double first reported on Tuesday (May 28) that Jay-Z is close to inking a deal with Sony Music for distribution of his Roc Nation banner. According to the report, executives for Sony and members of Jay-Z's business team have been spotted in recent weeks in New York and Los Angeles meeting to discuss a deal. It's being speculated that Jay-Z's long-awaited Blueprint 3 album will be released this fall through a Roc Nation/ Sony Music union; Jay has a longstanding connection with Sony Music head/ hit producer Rick Rubin, who helmed Jay's "99 Problems" and appears in the song's video.
MTV News inquiries made earlier this week and on Thursday (May 28) to representatives for Jay-Z had not been returned as of press time.
On Thursday, New York's Daily News reported that Jay-Z is also in talks with Warner Music Group to launch Carter Music Group, a label that may see the rapper release his own solo albums on Atlantic Records after his next effort.
Warner is headed by veteran Jay-Z allies Chairman Lyor Cohen and Executive Vice President Kevin Liles. All three men once worked together during Def Jam's heyday, when Jay-Z released albums through a partnership with the label. After Liles left Def Jam to work with Cohen at WMG, it opened the ranks for Jay-Z to assume the presidency of label, a position he held for three years.
In January of this year, Jay-Z spoke with MTV News about this plans for Blueprint 3 and his partnership with concert-promotion giant Live Nation. The rapper reportedly signed a $150 million deal with Live Nation in April 2008, following in the footsteps of U2 and Madonna, who also signed hefty 360-styled deals with the company. Part of Jay-Z's pact included the launch of Roc Nation, a separate company to develop talent and to which Jay-Z has already signed pop producers Stargate to a deal.
"Well, whatever it is, it'll be Roc Nation. It's gonna be a partnership with someone," Jay-Z said earlier this year about his next album's label. "So whether it's going to be Def Jam or someone [else], that's yet to be determined."
No official word on when either deal will be finalized has been made public as of press time.