Contributed by Mustangman9500:
I am writing because I feel there is no where left to go with this and it needs to be said to the public before it’s too late. Magazines such as People, for example, I know will not listen because of certain situations and deals going on between companies. I will be straight forward with this before anything else can happen. I’m shocked no one has come out with this yet. I am a former employee of Universal Records. I do not wish to mention my name or in what department I worked in. I made the choice to leave there. I left Universal Records because I became very tired with some of the shady business that goes on there just as a lot of major and independent record labels. This is why I am taking a leave of absence from the music for a while.
I am saying what I am about to say because there are some very good and nice music artists out there who not deserve to deal with bad deals. There aren’t a whole lot of ‘Nice” artists out there, but there is one group who has always been very down to earth since I’ve known them. This would be 98 Degrees. I want to let you know of the truth on their terrible contract because it might be the only way to save them, and I wouldn’t be writing this right now if I hadn’t left the company myself.
98 Degrees was originally signed to Motown Records, which Universal eventually bought out later. When they were signed they were basically four guys who wanted to sing really badly, and they saw this as their only shot. So like any starving artists, they took the deal, even though it was a bad one. Since this was a bad deal in the beginning, it has always caused problems for them. They’ve had money been ripped off of them, and even publicity stunts. Paris D’Jon, their former manager was not very helpful in this either. Their contract with Top 40 Management was not the best. Top 40 and Motown could do whatever they wanted with them, whether it be shaping them into a boyband, or their idols, BoyzIIMen.
Since their first recording days Motown had selected Nick Lachey as their “prize” member. They chose Nick to do the leads, and to be the groups “leading man.” They saw him as the money maker because he seemed to attract the most women. This from the start seemed to be very unfair for the other members. As time went on Motown prizing Nick got a little more in depth. At the same time 98 Degrees was being managed by Paris D’Jon, so was a young lady by the name of Jessica Simpson.
Because Jessica and 98 Degrees were managed under the same team it only made sense for Jessica to go on tour with them. Unfortunately for Jessica she did not get as big of a response as her label, Sony, was planning. This made people under her party nervous about the release of her first album. So it only made sense under Top 40 management to hook up with prize 98 Degrees member with the struggling female singer. This happened at the release of her first album. Once this was done Jessica’s career took off as planned. Sad thing is Jessica and Nick were never even together. The press, the record labels, and management had a whole fairy tale written out for the amusement of the music buyers and concert goers.
At this time Motown was taken over by Universal, and 98 Degrees switched management in hopes that things would improve. None of them wanted Nick lying about his personal life, or Jessica for that matter. And none of them wanted to lose their money either. Universal had the ideals though, and same deals set up with Sony because the Nick and Jessica story brought in so much money. Even though Paris D’Jon was long gone out of the picture.
Jessica’s father, Joe Simpson took more management status in her career. Now I can’t speak too much of Jessica’s situation. I know of 98 Degrees. I worked for Universal, not Sony. All I do know is that Joe Simpson has more say on what happens in her contracts than Jessica does herself.
98 Degrees was forced to put off their recording schedule for their CD, “Revelation” because of a promotion money making project by the record companies. It was the “Here On Earth” Campaign. Nick and Jessica had to promote their duet in the movie “Here On Earth” at movie premieres around the country. This did bring in a lot of money for Jessica Simpson. All of the Jessica Simpson agenda seemed to push 98 Degrees further and further onto the back burner as a Universal group.
Eventually 98 Degrees did land in the studio to record “Revelation” And went on tour after releasing it. For the most part in between then Jeff and Drew came out to the public about some of their private life situations. They urged Nick to do the same, in coming out with truth. But Nick has always been such a good guy he didn’t want to risk his group losing their contract. Anything related to Jessica written in magazines or said on TV was basically scripted, appearances together were pre-planned, as if they were actors playing it out for a movie. But as long as the public loved it, the Universal and Sony kept it coming.
The two record companies had a huge money making deal.
With the upcoming release of Jessica’s second CD the hype dealing with Nick died down. It was getting boring. So Sony and Universal decided, Well she announced she was with Nick when her first album came out. Maybe for the second one, they should break up. And that’s exactly what happened. Once again it brought in some money because it made people turn their heads again. It was shocking, it was news. For Nick and Jessica in dealing with their personal lives, it was a relief. They felt they would move on with their loved ones. I will not speak on their own personal terms, strictly what has happened professionally with their labels. It’s only for the protection of their privacy. I will only say they have each had their own significant other hidden from the public’s eyes due to the record companies wishes.
Throughout this “break up” period sales did not go well for 98 Degrees or Jessica Simpson, in either records or concerts. Universal was thinking of new ways squeeze money out of 98 Degrees. This is all record companies do. Especially major labels. They look at their artists with dollar signs. Once again Universal turned to Nick and thought, we need Nick. Universal picked Nick to do a solo album even though it was against his own wishes to say with the group. Universal said after Nick did this they could help 98 Degrees. But Nick had to do it or it would hamper 98 Degrees’ contract. This caused a lot of turmoil and problems between group members. Especially Jeff, who founded the group. Jeff was so offended by it he decided to come out and do his own project as well in singing.
Things were not going well for Jessica Simpson either. She only seemed to do well when she was romantically linked with Nick Lachey. Because Jessica has been in the process of getting together a third album, and 98 Degrees has recently released a new single with greatest hits album coming out soon. Universal and Sony felt they needed to team up again. They felt it had to be bigger than getting back together, so they started “the engagement.” This was once again has brought people to turn their heads in dealing with 98 Degrees and Jessica Simpson. I do not know at this time how far Universal and Sony plan to take this now because I do not work for Universal anymore. I left for ridiculous reasons like this. Both record companies are so money hungry they will do anything to get it.
I can’t speak on Jessica Simpson’s behalf. But I do on 98 Degrees’ end for the past two years, even more so, it has been very hard on them with this. This publicity stunt went on way too long. It has ultimately come to tear them apart as a group. And not even because they wanted that. They are all four very nice guys, who do not deserve this treatment. That’s why I wrote. I wasn’t sure where else to take this. Please get the word out there before it’s too late. It’s important people know so Universal and Sony can put an end to this and start letting their artists have the freedom to truly express themselves. People wonder why 98 Degrees hasn’t done so well lately. Well this is a sure fire hint.
Admin note: FYI, the webmaster at 98 Degrees official site responded to this person’s report. Read it here.