It's official: Van Halen has signed with Interscope Records.
The Hollywood Reporter first broke the news last week that the band would leave its longtime label home, Warner Music, after 35 year in favor of Universal's Interscope.
It had been rumored -- and reported -- that the band was joining the Columbia Records roster. In fact, an insider told THR that the contract for the Sony deal was drawn up and approved but hadn't been signed when Universal Music stepped into the picture. The signing was a group effort involving UMG chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge, UMG International COO Max Hole, Interscope Geffen A&M vice chairman Steve Berman and Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine, who, said a source, "heard the band was available and wanted to work with them. It was decided at the 11th hour." What came next was a series of meetings that presented the band with a global plan that included extensive marketing, merchandising, touring and, of course, recordings.
Alex Van Halen, Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth were photographed in Los Angeles with Iovine, Irving Azoff, Executive Chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and Chairman and CEO of the Front Line Management Group, Steve Berman, Vice Chairman, Interscope Geffen A&M Records and Jim Urie, President and CEO, Universal Music Group Distribution on Thursday, Nov. 17. The photo was distributed to members of the media with a subject line "A Sneak Peek of Van Halen."
It's expected that as frontman, Roth will have to carry much of the marketing burden and it seems the band members ultimately want their singer to be happy with the deal which is why they went with Universal's west coast-based Interscope.
A new album, their first studio effort since 1984, is believed to be nearly finished with the hope that it can be released in 2012. The band is expected to make a "special announcement" on Nov. 30 at the Grammy Awards nominations concert, which will air live on CBS from Los Angeles' Nokia Theater.