As of today, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter has inked a multiyear deal with Universal Music Group to house his music label Roc Nation. This agreement includes the rights to release Mr. Carter’s next album along with the forthcoming records of other top-selling artists including Rihanna.
Jay-Z said the deal allowed his five-year-old Roc Nation to “continue to operate as an independent label with the strength, power and reach of the best major.” Universal didn’t disclose the financial terms of the deal.
The move is a return to Universal for Mr. Carter, 43 years old, who served as president of Universal’s Island Def Jam Music Group—in addition to being one of the label’s recording artists—from 2004 until late 2007 when his contract to do so expired.
Shortly after departing from Universal, he joined forces with concert promoter Live Nation LYV +0.99% to launch Roc Nation—an entertainment company that includes the Roc Nation music label as well as management, publishing, merchandising and other business ventures.
To release Roc Nation records, Mr. Carter struck distribution deals with both Warner Music Group’s Atlantic Records and Sony Music Entertainment. As those deals approached expiration, the competition among the industry’s big labels over Roc Nation became fierce.
Universal Chief Executive Lucian Grainge said Roc Nation has swiftly become “one of the most successful brands in music with a reputation for developing some of today¹s most influential and popular talent.”