JENNIFER LOPEZ 2Jennifer Lopez has spent most of her singing career at Sony Music Epic Records. The bland version of what happened, I’m told, is that the contract period had ended and that Lopez had fulfilled it with her last two singles, and that Lopez and Stringer decided together not to move forward with an album. Others insist the Sony label dropped her. There also is disagreement on how finished her upcoming album was before it was canceled. Internet reports say her 7th studio album, titled “Love?”, was supposed to come out in April and featured production from Danja, Jim Jonsin, Darkchild, Chris n Teeb from Dropzone, and The Neptunes among others. A song from it titled “Fresh Out The Oven” surfaced online in October 2009 as a buzz single and reached #1 on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Songs chart. But the official lead single, “Louboutins”, had its radio debut on November 23 following the song’s premiere and performance at the 2009 American Music Awards went to #31 on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart. UPDATE: *The song was the Power Pick of the week twice, and rose to #13 on that chart.*

Lopez insiders claim to me the album was “by no means done” and everyone was “only a few songs into it” and “unlike movie dates, street dates rarely hold in the music biz”. But that album was real enough to delay the release of her upcoming CBS Film, The Back-Up Plan (see below). Others tell me the album isn’t being released because “Louboutins” bombed, as did her performance at the American Music Awards, and Sony Music execs “aren’t sure who her audience is anymore. Where once she had little girls, she’s been supplanted by Beyonce, Gaga, and Rhianna. Lots of fighting going on between Benny Medina (who, of course, is spending their money like it’s 10 years ago) and the label.”

Sony_pictures_logo2But when I began inquiring about this, her manager Benny Medina emailed this morning to confirm the split. “Jennifer had a wonderful relationship with the Sony Music group, and they have shared many successes together, but the time was right to make a change that best serves the direction her career as an actress and recording artist. She is grateful and appreciative to everyone Sony for all that they accomplished together.”

The Lopez insiders claim the decision was “a mutual one” between the star and label’s current CEO Rob Stringer (younger brother to Sony parent company CEO Howard Stringer). They say the two had a meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles during Grammy week, and, after a “heart-to-heart” conversation, the star and executive decided to end the long relationship. “It was all very amicable. They hugged at the end of the meeting,” claims one. Meanwhile, I understand that Sony will still be releasing her “Greatest Hits” album in the fall.

Supposedly, Lopez has not wasted any time getting signed elsewhere: it’s rumored she is already in talks with Island Def Jam’s bigwig L.A. Reid to come to his label. Granted, this is a tough time for music artists, especially those like Lopez who were once big in the biz and now are battling not only the changed economics and rampant piracy but also the moving target of today’s music fans. JLo insiders insist none of this is fazing Lopez, who took time off to have two kids with her recording star husband, Marc Anthony, and who is just now returning to her acting career with the release of the feature The Back Up Plan.

But CBS Films recently announced it’s postponing the release of that romantic comedy to April 23rd, same weekend as Wall Street 2 and MacGruber. It had been scheduled for April 16th which then got too crowded. And before that January 22nd when it was to be the first CBS Film. Complicating The Back-Up Plan‘s release as well was that J-Lo/Sony album and exactly when she’d be available to do publicity for the film. Well, no one has to worry about that now.

Meanwhile, JLo is scheduled as both the musical guest and the host of Saturday Night Live next
weekend. But now she has no record and no movie to promote. Hmm.

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