Epic Records and Syco exercised their option with the group Fifth Harmony three days after Camila Cabello left the group to pursue a solo career, reports Billboard magazine.
On December 19, the remaining four members–Ally Brooke, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane, and Lauren Jauregui–announced that Cabello left the group, afterwhich a back and forth between the four girls and the now-solo singer ensued.
Meanwhile, Fifth Harmony are set to record their third album to be released in 2017 as fellow Epic labelmate, Camila Cabello, prepares to drop her first single in April or May.
Lucky for the group, their success–racking up 7 million US digital downloads and nearly half-a-million albums (according to Nielsen Music), and scoring two top five Billboard Hot 100 hits (“Worth It” in 2015 and “Work from Home” in 2016)–will afford them leverage in their current negotiations.
Fifth Harmony, formed in 2012 by Simon Cowell for the competition reality show X Factor USA, was initially signed under the onerous singing show contract hopefuls typically sign even before they compete on the show.
“There’s a stigma attached to a reality show that they have eclipsed,” Joe Willis, longtime manager of American Idol season 6 winner Jordin Sparks told Billboard. “That Fifth Harmony has been able to build their fan base, as One Direction did, was a masterstroke by Simon Cowell.”
“The standard contract is worse than a 360 nightmare,” Loeb & Loeb attorney Debra White, who negotiates similar deals for contestants of NBC’s The Voice, explained to Billboard. She added that a company like the Cowell-founded Syco Entertainment “gets to be the record company, the publisher, the manager, they have a piece of touring and merchandise.”
According to a Billboard source, negotiations are ongoing, with the Fifth Harmony members having already taken back ownership of their trademark. White added: “If it were me, I would want a higher royalty rate; I would try to get all of the ancillaries uncrossed and limit the amount of product and length of the contract. I would also fight hard to increase the committed money for marketing and promotion, and creative approval.”
Fifth Harmony reps (the group has its own attorney and two individual members retain independent representation) would not comment to Billboard other than confirming that “Epic has in fact exercised their deal option with Fifth Harmony.”
The group posted their new official photo via Twitter on Thursday (pictured above). As far as Simon Cowell is concerned, a rep assured Billboard that he has remained “committed as ever to the group he envisioned.”