A battle for Britney Spears is brewing. The pop star's recording contract with the former Jive Records (now RCA, a division of Sony Music) has one album left, and among those courting the chart-topper are L.A. Reid, chairman of Sony's Epic Records and Spears' "X Factor" sidekick, and Barry Weiss, former Jive head who's guided her career through its greatest heights and now chairs Island Def Jam Motown and Universal Republic, home to Justin Bieber, Kanye West and "American Idol's" Mariah Carey.
Both execs want to sign the singer, 30, whose seven studio releases have sold some 100 million units worldwide, to their rosters (at a cost of $3 million to $5 million per album, according to one estimate). But in what's being described by sources as a virtual face-off, the two are approaching the courtship with divergent strategies.
Reid, with whom Spears has become "chummy" since joining "X Factor" -- to the extent that she and Demi Lovato swapped table positions so Spears can sit to Reid's left -- is in dire need of an artist who can chart, having run Epic for more than a year now with nary a hit to its name (staffers insist new signings Ciara and Avril Lavigne could turn the tide). According to sources, Reid is using his proximity to Spears to woo her while also offering his counsel and promising to take her career "to the next level."