Did Jay overpay for the Blueprint 3?

I wasn’t sure what to think, when I read yesterday that Jay-Z had bought out the remainder of his contract with Def Jam for $5 million.

As a journalist, my natural tendency is to think he overpaid. But it’d be hard to say, without being privy to all of the facts and figures. Would Def Jam have made $5 million off of the Blueprint 3? Something tells me that, if they thought they stood to make anywhere near that much money, they never would have gone through with the deal.

I mean, it’s not like they had to sell Jay-Z the rights to the last album under his contract with them. They could have just as easily been like, “Fuck that shit. We want another Jay-Z album.” And Jay probably would have been hamstrung. He wouldn’t have been able to put out an album on his joint venture with Live Nation, while he still owed an album to Def Jam.

These days, you don’t really think about a label being able to make $5 million from an album. Which isn’t that much money in the grand scheme of things. But still, $5 million is $5 million. I know some of you fruits are more knowledgeable about the inner workings of the record biz than I am. How many copies would an album have to sell to make $5 million for the label? Is it more than we think? Less than we think?

Probably less, right? I doubt this deal was based on the Blueprint 3 selling any more than about a million copies. The last couple of Jay albums sold about 2 million copies each, but that was back in ’06 and ’07. There’s probably all kinds of shit that went 2x platinum back then that wouldn’t sell nearly as well today. You saw what happened with the last Fiddy album. It struggled just to hit 1x platinum – and Fiddy’s albums usually sell better than Jay-Z’s.

And that’s not even taking into account whether or not the album is any good. I’m assuming it isn’t. Otherwise, they probably would have put it out a long time ago, and Jay could have been on to his next album by now. He almost certainly could have made more money with it this past holiday season than he can now. I wonder if the TIs at Def Jam listened to the album before they decided how much they were gonna sell it for? They’d kinda have to, right?

Actually, there isn’t anything about this deal to suggest they even bothered. First of all, who can tell what’s bound to make money, in the age of Tha Carter III? Would guys like Doug Morris and LA Reid even be able to tell a hit rap album these days, or do they just release whatever a rapper hands in, provided there aren’t any references to tall Israelis and such? I’m not trying to knock them or anything. I’d probably be just as clueless.

Jay-Z suggests there was some sort of coin toss involved, and he lost, and that’s why he had to pay $5 million. I wonder what he would have had to pay if he’d won the coin toss. Half that much? Nothing at all? Would Doug Morris have just up and given Jay-Z $5 million, based on the results of a coin toss? What kind of coin was it, anyway? Jay-Z probably didn’t think to have it looked at, before he agreed to the deal. For all we know, there might not have been any way he could have won. Roffle.

But I doubt Jay-Z gives a shit about $5 million anyway. The way his deal with Live Nation works is that it doesn’t matter if you make any money from album sales. The touring is the key. Now that he doesn’t have to sweat putting another album on Def Jam, he can hit the road, where all of the real money is. What’s another $5 million, when you’ve got something like $100 million to recoup? And it’s not like he’s getting any younger.

  • Tok

    Pierzy!

  • Pierzy

    Originally, the figure was thought to be around $20 million so if he only had to pay a quarter of that, how can that be overpaying?

    Besides, paying $5 million so you can start your new $150 million contract sounds like a plan to me…

  • OG Matt Herbz

    No, the question is whether or not he’d have to come out of his own damn pocket more than $5 million just to promote the album enough to even recoup that much. And the answer is:
    Probably not.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’m pretty much tired of hearing Jay rap. He definitely held it down in his heyday all the way up to The Black Album, but damn, what’s left to rap about?

    –OG Matt Herbz–

  • Dallas Penn

    didn’t XXL post this dude’s concert rider (agreement). He will make that $5mil back after doing 5 shows.

  • SOUTHSIDE A-TOWN

    “There’s probably all kinds of shit that went 2x platinum back then that wouldn’t sell nearly as well today.” – prime example: Fat Joe J.O.S.E. (i think)

    nowadays i think jay will sell records strictly b/c of his fanbase. he prolly hasnt made too many more fans since his glory days. then again maybe its just me.

    JAY-Z = BRETT FARVE jus walk away man, damn.

  • Epinz

    Other than the put on remix with jeezy, I havnt heard anythng good from j. Didn’t one of his weed carriers say that it was like a rap version of 808&heartbreaks?…fail!!! He’ll sell cuz he’s jay. Bet u if this dnt sell, he’ll b droppin a reasonable doubt 2, a la rea and ob4ql2.

  • geico lizard

    Def Jam wouldnt let Jay go unless they thought he was no longer money maker. He can go platinum one time and barely cover the promotion. It has nothing to do with the article but Charles Hamilton getting punched by that girl was funny.

    • Bobo D

      Yeah, saw that shit, just downloaded it off vuclip for replay value.
      You should check out illseed’s post on AHH, there a gif pic of him getting the sonic rings “knocked the fuck out” of his skull. All thats missing is the “ding-ring” sound fx.

  • PARIS PERSHUN

    JAY-Z DOES WHAT THE FUCK HE WANTS…. SAY WHAT YOU WANNA SAY BUT I CAN GUARANTEE HE DID THAT SHIT KNOWING ITS WAY MORE MONEY AT ROC NATION.. THAT NIGGA CAN SIT ON STAGE AND BREATH ON THE MIC AND GET PAID MILLIONS FOR THAT SHIT…. AND WORD TO PIERZY… YOU HIT THAT HOE!!!! THAT DEAL HE GOT WITH THEM IS SICK AS SHIT!!

    (LEANS BACK AND TUNRS “CAN I LIVE” WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WYA WYA WYA WYA WAY WYA WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY THE FUCK UP))

    • Pierzy

      What’s good Paris? “Can I Live” will always be my favorite Jay track. Good call on that one!

      • PARIS PERSHUN

        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
        I FEEL YA ON THAT ONE….. AND WHEN THAT SHIT IS PERFORMED LIVE THAT SHIT IS B-E-A-UTIFUL….

        (LEANS BACK AND TURNS “CAN I LIVE”-THE LIVE ONE- WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY THE FUCK”

      • Pierzy

        Co-Sign all day. I’ve seen Jigga perform live twice and the 2nd time [the tour with Mary J.], he pulled out “Can I Live” and that shit was incredible. What made it even better was that half the crowd had never heard it before so when you looked around you knew who came late after those radio songs.

        • PARIS PERSHUN

          HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA A…… THATS ALWAYS THE FUNNY PART…. LOOKIN AROUND AT THE MUFUCKAS WHO ONLY LISTEN TO THE SINGLES AND THEY EVEN FUCK UP ON THOSE WORDS….(I.E THAT BITCH WITH THE BIG TITTIES ON THE “FADE TO BLACK” DVD) WATCH IT… YOU’LL SEE THAT BITCH MESS UP WHEN THEY PERFORMIN’ “SONG CRY”….(SORRY I PAY ATTENTION TO DUMB SHIT LIKE THAT)

          (LEANS BACK AND TURNS “POPPIN TAGS” WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY THE FUCK UP)

        • white boy

          LOL, i’m just gonna put that fade to black dvd on and check that shit…

  • http://www.myspace.com/maxprofit Max Profit

    5 million is a steal for Jigga.
    How the hell did Def Jam even accept that?
    Jay-Z has a different kinda pull!!

    • maxamillion

      EXACTLY!!! Max Profit

  • Maxamillion

    Jay is a legend. Quit being a hater. Real Niggas know that Jay won’t disappoint. he’s gon’ give you a well put together project instead of just some dumb shit. Jay is plottin his moves just like the labels are plottin theirs. he did not get to where he is for no reason. Yall niggas is too sensitive. Jay, Nas, T.I., Shady, Weezy, and 3000… that’s my super group in no particular order… they bring out the best in eachother and they all need to quit bullshittin sometimes but these other niggas are immatators. I fux wit Jeezy too (no homo) because he is an originator and a real nigga. Chi til tha world Blow!!!!!!!!

  • SOUTHSIDE A-TOWN

    he prolly did get a sick deal w/ roc nation. but he jus gon be buying his way out that bitch in a year or two. like i said he make bread of his fan base, nobody else fux w/ him.

    YOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Charles Hamilton got his ass ROCKED! shit was hilarious. he was tryna hold her hands n shit cuz he aint wanna feel another one of dem.

    • PARIS PERSHUN

      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
      IF YOU LOOK UP THE AGREEMENT….. ITS BASICALLY LIKE THEY PAYIN HIM JUST TO BE WITH THEM…. LIKE HOW HALF THESE INTERNET NIGGAS DO THEY WEEKLY PROTISTUTE!!! THINK ABOUT IT…. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA AH AHA

      • http://www.dopemuzic.com B Eazy

        Paris, wuddup homie?! Yo we got to keep in contact a lil’ bit, niggz up my way is fuckin wit your music… couple things a wanna build wit you about…

        You absolutely right, that 5 million is light… Jay has clearly earned the benefit of the doubt that whatever business arrangement he enters into, he’ll come out okay.

  • http://djrayz.com Dj Rayz

    I think Def Jam just got a mini bail out from Jay. Jay’s lawyers are prolly some smart jewish peeps who can scheme some interesting deals.

  • $ykotic

    That 5 is a drop in the bucket. Walking WITH HIS PUBLISHING. That’s the coin toss deal.

    IMO, I think we are looking at the last downfall of Def Jam.

    What better way to start Roc Nation? Put out Blueprint 3 and start touring. Re-coup!

  • Jamal7Mile

    Like someone said above, Jay do what he want. Def Jam probably didn’t want to get “Dame Dashed” by Hov either. They remember that shit.

    Charles Hamilton… woooww!! Does he still call himself Sonic the Hedgehog? I forgot how that video game plays out but Hedgehog lost ALL of his rings on that chin-check!! Haa! Who wants to bet he’ll never be able to recover that extra life lost?

    • $ykotic

      Ha Ha!

      He ain’t Sonic. Tails ass N*66a!

      How you call yourself a game character with no game?

      Lyte come get your cousin…

  • sealsaa

    Besides the album’s pontential sales, you’d have to factor in the money that Def Jam would have spent on marketing for the album (videos, ect). I say all in all, Def Jam got the short end of the stick on this deal.

  • Casso

    Bol, as a “journalist,” shouldn’t your “natural tendency” be to do some reporting to figure out the “inner workings of the record biz?”

    That might give us fruits a reason to come back and read your journalism, err, I mean blog.

  • Thomas

    Hip Hop and its fans are the only ones who tell our pioneers, our greats, our legends to leave and give up what they love [II] to do. Rock fans don’t do that.

    Anyway…..good deal for Jay. Jay has enough hardcore fans to buy his albums and many more that will pay top dollar to see him in concert.

    Win for Jay.

  • 4mat

    what tall Israelis?

  • Brooklyn ‘Lo

    It may or may have not been a good deal for either party. You have to take into account whether or not Jay fully sold the Roc-a-fella name to Island/Def Jam, if he did he would stand to make considerably less money than he would as a owner/co-owner of the label as opposed to just being an artist on the label. There is also a measure of calculated risk with the record business being the shit hole that it is. Is the Blue Print 3 a 5 million dollar record? Will the support put into the album be worth the yield? That right there is the gamble. Jay cashed a big check from Live Nation now he has to hold up his end of the deal. Madonna who has already signed with them is already an iconic staple and hasn’t had a problem making money from her deal with the label. From my understanding all the money that is made from touring, record sales, commercials, t-shirts, publishing, etc. is to be split between the artist and the label. That’s the nature of the 360 deal. If Jay-Z and Beyonce have a baby and sell the pictures of the baby to People magazine for 3 million dollars Live Nation gets 1.5 million.

  • BIGNAT

    the label wins on this one they made money without having to do nothing. next thing if jay wants to do busniess with anyone on def jam he going have to pay them money now.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com alderman

    Jay is over, he dropped that Jockin Jay z last summer thinking he was gone get some buzz and drop, nothing doing, so then he comes out at summer jam tried to create some buzz with D.O.A (DYNASTY. OVER .A$$HOLE), didnt work, so then he went 50 cent on us and started name dropping and dissing people, didnt work either, might generate a few extra units from the west coast since game is calling him out. Other than that Jay aint really had a buzz since 99 problems, Roc Boyz was alright, but if American Gangsta the movie hadnt came out he wouldnt had no buzz for that either. I heard the next single off BLueprint 3, its called “Michael Jordan with the Wizrds”!! LMAO

  • Shotty

    Didnt this mufucka buy his masters for his albums from def jam too? Dude in the situation he wants to be in. Even if he hangs it up, he’s still gone be making money from touring. he’s not bigger than hip-hop but this nigga is a MULTI millionaire. He’s making money from different directions . . . 40/40, Buying his masters so that he solely profits from an album purchase, the share in the basketball team, Rocnation, Rocawear promotion. He doesn’t NEED rap. He invested his money into smart shit. This fuckin dude aint dumb at all. He’s makin money 5 or more ways. Yall act like Jay a new artist. He still rappin cuzz he can, or for his fans but this mufucka could sit on his ass, smoke blunts, and collect checks. fuck talkin bout this nigga. Niggas need to spend more time talking bout making millions whether than clockin other niggas money.