After nearly a decade at universal’s Interscope, hitmaker Timbaland has jumped ship to Sony, entering into a joint venture with Epic Records for his Mosley Music Group.
The MMG label, which officially came under the Universal umbrella in 2006, counts among its top sellers the group OneRepublic along with Nelly Furtado and Chris Cornell. It was also the vehicle that Timbaland (born Timothy Mosley) used for his own collaborations, including the 2007 album Timbaland Presents Shock Value, which has sold 1.2 million units, according to Nielsen SoundScan. MMG’s most recent release through Interscope was OneRepublic’s 2013 set, Native, which has sold 881,000.
Under the terms of the new partnership, Epic will provide marketing, publicity, distribution and overall label services for the imprint. For now, MMG and Epic will only reveal a slate of releases scheduled for first-quarter 2015, including projects by rapper Tink and R&B/pop artist V. Bozeman.
MMG CEO Monique Idlett Mosley says Timbaland’s close collaboration with Epic chairman/CEO Antonio “L.A.” Reid on May’s Michael Jackson Xscape project got the ball rolling. “We found these two amazing female urban artists and felt Epic was a great place for a fresh start,” says Mosley, Timbaland’s wife. “Both L.A. and Timbaland have a passion for this music and understand each other from a business perspective.”
Interscope had no comment when contacted for this story. According to Mosley, OneRepublic is still part of MMG and will remain housed at Interscope. Timbaland is also slated to release a final album through MMG/Interscope in 2015: Textbook Timbo.
As an artist, Timbaland last had a top 10 hit in 2007 with “The Way I Are,” featuring Keri Hilson, which climbed to No. 3. But as a producer he has had a succession of radio smashes since the 1990s, in particular tracks with Justin Timberlake — whom he now joins at Sony. A source says the two will continue to collaborate, although no new projects are planned.
Timbaland, meanwhile, has his hands full as executive music producer for the new Fox series Empire. The one-hour, music-focused drama will premiere in January and feature three to four original recordings in every episode, but they’ll be released through sister label Columbia.
This article first appeared in the Nov. 15 issue of Billboard.