Columbia Records is in talks with producer Rick Rubin to take the role of co-chairman of the label. Rubin, nominated for Grammys this year for his work with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Dixie Chicks, currently heads up his own imprint, American Recordings, which is distributed by Warner Music Group under the Warner Bros. Records umbrella. Rubin just moved American--home to Johnny Cash, Noise Ratchet and Palo Alto--to Warner a year ago.

There's no word yet as to whether Warner will move to block a Rubin move to Columbia, but he reportedly has another three years left on his existing agreement. Some reports say it's a done deal. As part of the move, existing Columbia Chairman Steve Barnett is expected to get a title bump but lose at least some creative control.

Look out for Billboard's full analysis of the situation in this week’s issue.