Multiple websites have been reporting that a deal for producer Dr. Luke to sit on the American Idol 13 judges panel was as good as done. Well, according to The Hollywood Reporter, it ain’t gonna happen after all.
And the reason may be Luke’s label deal with Sony. American Idol currently releases Idol recordings through a deal with rival, Universal Music Group.
However, as THR wrote on Aug. 24, Luke, whose real name is Lukasz Gottwald, was bound to run into a snag with Sony Music. The music giant signed Luke to a lucrative label deal in 2011 (his Kemosabe imprint is home to songwriter-turned-solo artist Bonnie Mckee, rapper Juicy J and pop-urban act Becky G, who herself said at last night’s MTV Video Music Awards, “I think [Idol] is going to happen” for Luke), but Sony’s competitor, Universal Music Group, holds the exclusive rights to American Idol recordings.
Allowing Luke to spend months of the year judging and nurturing talent then developing said artists for another label makes little business sense for the company that invested so deeply in his own hitmaking power.
For Luke’s part, says an insider close to the situation, the hitmaker came to the realization that the commitment would simply demand too much of his time. “He really loves his artists and wants to build up the label,” a source tells THR, adding that Kemosabe is “on the cusp” of breaking Becky G, a top priority for the imprint and the company overall. Beyond the label’s current projects, “Luke wants to build an entertainment company … after a lot of conversations, both Luke and Sony Music CEO Doug Morris came to the mutual agreement that taking Dr Luke out of the Idol running “was the best thing for all parties.”
It also sounds like Dr. Luke came to the conclusion that the gig would be too time consuming, but I would not be surprised if the Sony conflict of interest played a part in his bowing out of the deal.
Back to the drawing board! Reportedly, Justin Bieber manager, Scooter Braun, is still in the running to join Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez on the panel. Since Jennifer suggested Braun as a candidate, she’ll probably push for him.
American Idol judges round auditions begin in September. The producers need to nab somebody quick, or line up a few guest judges.