After exiting as chairman/CEO of Epic Records in May, Antonio “L.A.” Reid is planning to launch a new entertainment company early next year and has already started to try to sign talent and recruit executives, sources tell Billboard.
The company will include a record label and publishing unit, and will also represent producers. Reid has been courting former colleagues to help him run the business, these sources say.
Reid left the top job at Epic following a sexual harassment claim by a former female assistant, and Sony reached a settlement with the assistant earlier this summer, sources tell Billboard. Sony, a lawyer for the assistant and a rep for Reid declined to comment.
After retreating from the limelight and canceling his keynote speech slated for France’s MIDEM conference in June, Reid resurfaced at the launch party for Apple’s Carpool Karaoke series earlier this month, posing for a photograph with Apple’s Jimmy Iovine, basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons and Andre Harrell of Uptown Records.
Reid, who founded LaFace Records in 1989 before stints running Arista, Universal Music Group’s Island Def Jam and Sony’s Epic, is known for his keen ears and big vision, and could pose serious competition for the major record companies from which he hails. He spearheaded a hip-hop roster revitalization during his tenure at Epic, bringing on artists such as Travi$ Scott, Future, Rick Ross, 21 Savage and more.
Despite the circumstances of his departure from Sony, some major-label executives have discussed partnering with Reid in large part to keep him from being a competitor, a source tells Billboard.