Joe Simpson, who handles the careers of two of the hottest artists on the charts right now -- his daughters Jessica and Ashlee Simpson -- is making further inroads into the music business through a jo

Joe Simpson, who handles the careers of two of the hottest artists on the charts right now -- his daughters Jessica and Ashlee Simpson -- is making further inroads into the music business through a joint venture with Geffen Records.

The first act signed to JT Records (named for Simpson and his wife, Tina) is male quintet Barefoot. The group -- whom Simpson describes as a cross between Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Third Eye Blind -- is expected to release its debut next spring.

"This deal brings to Geffen a real pop sensibility, because Joe understands that world so well," says Geffen co-president Jordan Schur.

The multiyear joint venture calls for JT to deliver at least two albums per year. Geffen will pay all costs, with profits split evenly between the two entities. "I'm giving Joe half the profits. He has a great exit strategy; he has a very, very healthy deal," Schur says, although he would not put a dollar value on the investment.

Simpson says money was not the deciding factor. He says he was also courted by Warner Music Group (Simpson manages Ryan Cabrera, whose music is distributed through WMG's E.V.L.A./Atlantic label) and Sony BMG (Jessica is on Sony BMG-owned Columbia).

Although Simpson and Schur say it was not intentional, their work together on Ashlee's project "Autobiography" served as a trial run for the deal.

"Jordan listened to my ideas and allowed me to put them to work," Simpson says. "He showed the kind of commitment and passion and marketing with that project that everyone's afraid to do anymore. That's who I want to be in business with."

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