Jordin Sparks Blames Record Label for Album Delay (VIDEO)

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Jordin Sparks reminds us, in an interview with Huff Post Live, that it’s been almost 5 years since her last album (Her sophomore effort, 2009′s Battlefield).  When the interviewer asked why it takes a label 5 years to release an album, she says, “Thank you! Ask them! How long does it take?”

The American Idol season 6 winner says that the label used her Sparkle movie as an excuse to delay the album. And then when Jordin was ready, they claimed there was no room in the schedule for her. Jordin says she’s had an album ready to go. She’s just been waiting for RCA to get on it. She called some of their excuses for delay “blowing smoke.”

But she does make a point of stressing the good things they’ve done to promote her career. “They’ve done so many amazing things for me,” says Jordin. “I don’t want this to come off like I hate them, cause I don’t!”

“I’m a little bit frustrated,” she says, “I want to put this music out for my fans.”

In the mean time, Jordin says “I think I have a really amazing door that just opened up with hopefully being able to get an album out.” She continues, “Working with a person I really, really trust, and getting it out kind of on my own. We’ll see.” Hm.

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  • Dancin VI#81

    :) sure hope new music comes out soon :)

  • No Thanks

    Like I said in the other thread, the label has ceased caring about her. Jordan is not a priority. See the writing on the wall and GET. OUT. Stop letting them keep you in limbo. Jordan has a lot of good things going for her and could probably find a better situation for herself with the help of her management.

  • curlyenta

    If I was in Vegas, I’d give 5-1 odds she has been dropped already. You don’t put out an album “on your own” when you are signed to a label. That’s BS. And you don’t bad-mouth your label in a public arena like that. That won’t sit well with the PTB. #indie

  • bscfan

    I had the same thought: either she has split from the label already or wants to split from them. Probably the former. Yeah, labels don’t let you put out stuff on your own. I agree with the poster who said in these circumstances Jordon will be a lot better off without RCA.

  • tripp_ncwy

    She is still signed with 19R so there is another layer in play. I wonder how they will figure into her new plan.

  • carola99

    Maybe she said that hinting the label will probably let her go?

  • Anny_nanny

    She is a very talented and beautiful girl, if she knows that she will be able to record and release an album or find a new label, I wish this to happen as soon as possible. It’s terrible, when the artist may not work for so many years.

  • bscfan

    Assuming Jordan splits from her label, what happens to the album that she says she has already recorded? Does that belong to RCA? Will they just put it on a shelf somewhere never to be released?

  • mmb

    If she has submitted an album to them and they won’t release it (and it appears that they won’t and have been jerking her around for some time), then I hope that they let her go. She is still so young and talented. Much better to be dropped than to be in a Jo Jo situation. Do we even know how many album options were in her contract? If she has submitted 4 (and maybe Sparkle would count for 5? I dunno) maybe she can walk

  • No Thanks

    Question – which Idols are still signed to Sony labels?

  • Tinawina

    Um… Kelly, Carrie, Fanny and Daughtry? Not sure whether Mandisa’s label is Sony. I think that’s it besides Jordin for now.

  • No Thanks

    Thanks.

  • H.A.

    Jordin, you are mega talented. Move on and find a label that will work for you. There is no doubt in my mind another major label will sign you. With EPIC label defuncted Sony is getting worse. It’s not only Idols but most of their major stars that have been getting little to no support. Poor Kesha,Xtina and Britney forced to put out crap and when radio says no Sony balks. I’m so glad Adam didn’t sell out and moved on.

  • tripp_ncwy

    RCA would own the masters to the recorded material. If she wanted to release it, she could buy back the masters and release the music herself but that would probably be expensive. Otherwise, RCA.could do whatever they wanted.

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    Oh, my first thought was that either she’s been dropped or she sicced her lawyer on the contract clause that limits how long a label can sit on an album like a broody hen. The latter approach would be justified if the album’s been done for several years.

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    The recorded masters belong to RCA. They have the right to keep them, though sometimes if the record was never released and the parting is amicable, they’ll let the artist have them.

    In theory, an artist could re-record the same songs and release the new versions, but it’s not that common.

  • usedtobelucy

    Well, everything’s been said, but not everyone has said it, so I’ll add my cent and a half. Don’t think you say what she’s just said unless splitsville is already in the works and the lawyers are just working out the details.

  • Anny_nanny

    Madisa is signed to Sparrow, UMG.

  • Stooch

    Well the good thing for her is she doesn’t have enough albums out or hit song to release a greatest hits album. Cause if it isn’t an amicable split that’s a label weapon to slow down an artist’s ability to move on. Cause there will be a clause in the contract that the label has the right to do this and the artist can’t release new music while in the promotional phase of the greatest hits album. It could slow them down for another year or two :(

  • Tinawina

    Thanks! Well there you go No Thanks, It’s just those 5, probably soon to be 4. :(

  • Landon Cox

    I really liked Battlefield, surprised it wasn’t more of a success

  • ptebwwong

    I posted this in the other thread. Even if Jordin’s album wasn’t coming out anytime soon when it’s ready, her talking to the media about this can’t be good.

    IMO if her album’s been ready for that long then they’re not planning to release it at all or the label thinks she needs better material on it to be worth releasing especially after a long hiatus. She’s probably told the label about her grievances with them. Since she spoke to the media about this, I agree with another poster that she’s probably in the stages of being dropped or she has taken legal action against the label.

    Hopefully, she goes to another label that can use their resources and promote her. She’s very talented and definitely deserves another chance.

  • Mel432

    Yeah, Cook, Kris, and Adam didn’t say a word prior to being dropped by RCA.

    Jordin must have had some contractual obligations, otherwise, why string her along that many years.

  • Sicola789

    Casey James too.

  • No Thanks

    There were at least 2 songs she recorded that ended up being given away to other artists and huge hits for them:

    1) “Skyscraper” – Demi Lovato
    2) “The Way” – Arianna Grande

    So I find it hard to believe she didn’t have the right material.

    ETA: If I were Jordin, I would look at the careers of singers such as Demi, Arianna and Selena Gomez and wonder why the hell I’m not doing the same thing.

  • pj

    If they are no longer invested in her, I don’t blame her for wanting to move on to another opportunity.

  • Mel432

    That’s what Xtina thought way back when her career wasn’t taking off and Britney was already a superstar.

  • H.A.

    Jared Leto to musicians: “Get a great lawyer and don’t sign a record deal until you absolutely have to.”

    Jared Leto (30 seconds to Mars) Wages War On The Music Industry

    Artifact vitriolically breaks down what Leto considers to be grave imbalances, showing in one infographic how label contracts can result in bands accumulating debt with every release thanks to promotional costs, recording bills and advances record labels recoup.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/natalierobehmed/2013/12/04/jared-leto-wages-war-on-the-music-industry/?utm_campaign=forbestwittersf&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social

    ARTIFACT – OFFICIAL TRAILER (Thirty Seconds To Mars Documentary)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xgz-5vIo_4&feature=youtu.be

  • ptebwwong

    Thanks. I forgot she had those songs before. Unless Jordin’s versions didn’t sound as if they would be hits at all (which I doubt), I’m now thinking the label doesn’t want her & chose to not promote her & give her excuses.

  • tripp_ncwy

    Jordin got “I AM WOMAN” as single that she performed on idol. That was supposed to lead up to cd#3 release in 2012.

  • Niall

    Reading between the lines it almost seems like there are some lawyers involved who are trying to help her get the rights to the songs she’s recorded (so she can release them herself). It’s long past due for Jordin to play hardball with RCA and I won’t be surprised if there’s an official announcement soon.

  • Sassycatz

    According to her Wikipedia page — and we know those things are never wrong ;-) …

    On July 22, 2013 it was announced that Sparks would make her return to the music industry after a four-year solo material hiatus. RCA Records released the first promotional single, “Skipping a Beat”, on August 1, 2013 on SoundCloud. The song became available on music media markets on August 13, 2013.”

    In any event, the only thing I recall knowing about Jordin’s career dealings is that, back when she won Idol, some fans said, for a youngster and “newbie”, Jordin had tough negotiators on her side because her father was a former NFL football player and was no pushover. I often thought of that when I would see nothing coming out of her camp and yet she still remained on the label. Maybe they were “too tough for her own good,” so to speak. In other words, the terms for dropping her were tough … although I can’t see a label’s lawyers being hoodwinked by anyone.

  • Tinawina

    Thanks! Totally blanked on him :)

  • Tinawina

    Exactly. After The Way blew up I assumed the label would make Jordin’s project more of a priority but I guess not.

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    Yup, I remember Sparks doing the countdown to the release of SaB and saying it was a buzz single, also that the real single would be released any minute now. Minutes… turned into months.

    If RCA was disappointed that Sparks released a buzz single and basically nobody cared, I have to ask what they were smoking. She’s been really clearly a radio-dependent, rather than a fanbase-dependent, artist in the past, and there’s no reason that a four-year hiatus from radio releases would change that. I would expect that by now, RCA would have a friggin’ clue about the fanbase-attrition issue.

  • Wfish88

    Feel like Jordan is kind of like Adam Lambert and Kellie Pickler. They have a big enough fan base and have proven in the past to be big enough sellers to get signed easily. (Waiting on Adam). If Jordan gets dropped, I could see her getting signed easily…The connection with Jason Derulo can’t hurt either

  • curlyenta

    The goal isn’t just getting signed. The longer range, and more important goal, is to produce music that will sell – in her case. Her entire music career is driven by and based on, the next ‘hit single’. Apparently RCA has no faith that she has that music ready and/or doesn’t think it’s worth their while to invest in her. That is a far bigger problem for her than just ‘getting signed’. Not sure how a connection with Jason Derulo will help her with that longer range goal – sure hasn’t helped with RCA. It comes down to $$ and cents.

  • jpfan2

    It’s been a while since Jordan had a hit single. It’s pretty hard to maintain a pop career without one. It’s possible RCA doesn’t see any future hits either. She’s a multitalented girl so I think she’ll be fine but I wouldn’t be surprised if she and RCA part ways in 2014.

  • tripp_ncwy

    THR: Ariana Grande Sued Over Mega-Hit Song ‘The Way’

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/ariana-grande-sued-mega-hit-665038

  • elliegrll

    The chances of them getting signed to a major label aren’t great. Not that that’s a huge problem, but as we’ve seen with Kellie, expectations should be held in check.

  • Mel432

    It’s impossible to get a hit single when they don’t release anything.

  • H.A.

    If Blake Lewis can be signed to a major label than their chances are just as great. It will all come down to what the artists are looking for in a label. Major or not.

  • ptebwwong

    In country music, not being on a major label is a big problem in getting a hit which is why Kellie’s chart success currently has not been good. Very few top 40 Billboard songs are from small labels. I think windmills stated that in the last couple of years even a top 30 hit from an artist not on a major label was rare. That doesn’t even bring in the problem with female country singers having a hard time.

    For more mainstream genres, I think this is less of a problem as Macklemore has shown.

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    Blake Lewis’ spring 2013 album with Republic Records hasn’t yet been released after his winter 2013 single did poorly even at his target dance-club niche, and he’s not on the label’s “complete artist list.”

    If Sparks is re-signed by a major, it’s likely to be on the terms of “get a radio hit, then we’ll see about an album.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not a safe album release either.

  • H.A.

    I don’t know what “complete artist list” even means but that is besides the point. He’s signed to a major label.

  • EvenMoreron

    don’t get me started how much i enjoyed that album. No Parade and Don’t Let it Go to Your Head. that damned S.O.S ruined everything.

  • elliegrll

    I disagree. Jason Aldean is one of the biggest names in country music right now, and he is on an independent label.

    Macklemore has been putting out music for over ten years, and just took off, because those in the industry recognized how much youtube traffic his videos get, and that his shows draw a lot of people.

    There are not a lot of artists period, regardless of genre, who are going to get airplay if they don’t have the support of a major label. But, I was not talking about airplay.

  • Jason Gorny

    It just prove that the music industry is a cutthroat business. I don’t think a lot of people are aware of how hard it is to be a singer. So when I hear people say they want to be a superstar singers like on Idol or The Voice, they probably don’t have any idea what it takes to be one and the work that has to be done and so on. It’s just a tough business like acting.

  • elliegrll

    It will all come down to what the artists are looking for in a label

    They aren’t the ones who will be making the decision. It’s just not that simple.

  • H.A.

    That is what lawyers, management and negotiations are for. It takes two with both parties having the same goals. I can’t imagine artists signing on the dotted line without any say so. That’s why artists talk to more than one label. Major or not.

  • lovetheusa1776

    Wish Jordin well – she’s a superb singer and, if her label (as with Lambert) has not supported her, better they “part ways.”

    Of all the female Idols, Jordin is the one with whom I had always hoped Adam would collaborate – her height, beauty, and extraordinary voice – what a terrific pair they would make.

    Tough business.

  • Broddybounce

    I think RCA needs to step back and take a look at itself and contemplate how it operates. They figuratively keep tripping over themselves and need a management shake-up. For a company to have an artist like Adam, with a CD (“Trespassing”) with at least 3, if not 5, radio-friendly songs, and to instead choose the three that were NOT radio-friendly (or, at least less so than other tracks) and not release those obvious songs that would have had a great chance (“Cuckoo” and “Shady” are two), and then suggest ’80s covers as the next album, you gotta shake your head and wonder who the hell is running the ship over there?

    I think Adam’s not having charted singles for that album was not at all about, as some have suggested, the radio industry having a problem with who Adam is as a person, as evidenced by, during the run of his first album, being LOVED by many huge Top 40 stations in all the big markets including New York (Z100), LA (KISS-FM) and San Francisco (Alice 97.3 and others), but instead had EVERYTHING to do with the singles that were chosen.

    So I’m not at all surprised that Jordin has had some things to say about RCA, and I hope they get some sense and do her well in the end so that she doesn’t have to leave, too.

  • tripp_ncwy

    RCA has already had its shakeup from the top down from Sr. mgmt to promotion dept. when it folded Jive under the RCA umbrella. That was a pretty major reorganization.

  • Ria.

    Can someone explain to me why having a major label contract is so important if they are not putting out any music? It has been several years since Jordan has put out a solo album. If (and I realize this is still speculation) she leaves the label without putting out another album, then what good has it done her to have that label contract for the past several years? What did that do for her?

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    Can someone explain to me why having a major label contract is so important if they are not putting out any music?

    Labels aren’t supposed to sit on their duffs and not release music. There’s even a standard contract clause that allows the artist to bail if the artist provides masters for a commercially viable album and the label refuses to release it within a reasonable time period.

    The reason to continue trying to work with a label when the process isn’t going well is that a major label has a lot more resources for promoting a single or an album (it also has big, mean lawyers). So if you can get them to release and promote, it will probably sell a lot better than if you took yourself to an indie label and started the process over.

    Sparks’ chances of getting a big radio push from RCA are (were?) higher than her chances of getting similar from an indie. Macklemore & Lewis got their hits, but they had to hire a high-end radio promoter to do it, and many indies won’t put the money there.

  • Landon Cox

    Don’t Let It Go To Your Head is a FeFe Dobson cover that I was obsessed with when I found it on MySpace circa 2005. I then forgot about it and could never remember it until I heard Jordin’s version!

    /csb

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    “Complete artist list” means a complete list of all of Republic Records’ artists.

    So Lewis was signed to a major label, but that didn’t last. He is not signed to Republic now. His planned album with them was never released.

  • Mel432

    For RCA to have released those two songs first on Adam’s Trespassing album is the biggest head scratcher ever. Ever. What were they thinking. Or NOT. How can you trust a label that does that, This was the biggest waste of a really good album.

    Now they are screwing with Jordin. WTF, RCA?

  • No Thanks

    I’m sure that played a huge part in Jordin getting lost in the shuffle. RCA can’t handle the load.

  • Ria.

    What two songs?

  • Ria.

    Thank you. So it sound’s like the label does not do anything for you, really, if they never release anything else for you.
    Would she have an album advance that she does not have to return if the contract is broken?
    For years, I have seen a lot of posts about who does and who does not still have a major label contract. Often the people who have contracts are not actively working on a new album or they eventually leave the label without putting out another album. So I was not sure if there was some other major advantage to just being on a label. It sounds like the label contract is only important if there is agreement on the artists’ vision and if/when the label produces and promotes their new music.

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    Would she have an album advance that she does not have to return if the contract is broken?

    Yes. The advance is hers to keep. RCA has probably expensed all or most of the costs of the non-released album, so there’s not even an asset writedown involved — the sunk costs are literally “costs of doing business.”

    It sounds like the label contract is only important if there is agreement on the artists’ vision and if/when the label produces and promotes their new music.

    Yup. What you get with the contract is the hope that this wonderful agreement will happen, and then the superior resources brought to bear for you if it does.

    If the label’s not returning your phone calls, all the contract does is prevent you from doing something more useful than hitting auto-dial.

  • Mel432

    Better Than I know Myself and Never Close Our Eyes.

  • Ria.

    Those were the lead singles. There were 2 because it was helpful to him to have two singles out before the album. Some of the biggest names have done that, too. The singles each sell more because there is no album yet to buy, then when the album drops there’s more than one single out there promoting it.

    Do you mean they were the wrong choices for singles? I’ll agree with that wholeheartedly.

  • standtotheright

    Not the topic, but from a non-stan’s perspective: Shady was the hit of the album, but not uptempo enough to be the lead single. And Cuckoo would have burned out immediately. That chorus. Eeek.

    NCOE ran aground on BTIKM’s poor fortune and AI fatigue, but it was hardly a bad single choice. If they’d lead with it the era might have gone better. It was no worse than the 4th best potential single on that album, and most days I’d say better than that.

    But this has little relevance to Sparks, since they haven’t pushed a single to radio for her in aaaaages, so we can’t even evaluate whether or not A&R is backing the “wrong horse.” There are no horses.

  • standtotheright

    This is probably the biggest story of them all.

  • standtotheright

    Broken Bow is an indie label, but it was created and backed by a lot of “outsider” financiers who kept putting money into it, and who then hired former major label executives to plan BB’s strategy. Those kinds of pockets help a lot of artists. Those kinds of pockets aren’t at many “indie” labels.

  • standtotheright

    The good news, at least, is that her film/soundtrack paychecks and sponsorship deals have given her some funds to hire the lawyers she needs to get out from under the contract.

    Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if she ended up going for a better publishing deal given her involvement with “The Way,” placed a few songs, and then got a contract based on her writing in the future. Which would be delicious.

    Good luck to her.

  • Not fit to print

    Shady could have been a hit. Agree about Cuckoo. Who in their right mind would have released that to radio?

    I read somewhere that RCA had chosen Adam’s and Kris’s sophomore cd singles because they were reminiscent of their biggest hits on their prior cd’s. Don’t know if this is true but, if it was, Chokehold was more in line with WWFM than BTIKM and much more likely to snake it’s way into the instant replay part of your brain. NVM, that game’s over.

    As you say, though, Jordin doesn’t even have the luxury of a radio release.

    This says more about RCA than anything. Their purse strings must be very tight and a lot of Execs fearful of their futures. They down to in-the-moment exploitations of whoever’s got buzz?

  • Not fit to print

    Luckily Jordin has other avenues open to her and will probably make the most of them. She won’t be without a label for long, either. Wishing her all the best.

  • Not fit to print

    It’s the label’s responsibility to manage cd and singles releases to maximum effect. If they are working you to be front-of-mind every 18-24 months, they have effectively put you on the backburner. Only the biggest acts can deliver decent revenues.
    Illegal downloads have reduced cd profit potential to a point where big labels are hardly viable. They are acting accordingly.