Deal puts REM in record books
Tuesday 27 August 1996
The group's four members will receive a reported $80m (pounds 53m) for their next five albums from Warner Bros. Already in their mid-to-late thirties, they will be nearing 50 when the last album is delivered. Thousands of Warner employees at a company summit in Anaheim, California, applauded when the chairman, Russ Thyret, announced REM had agreed to the deal.
But despite their enormous album sales of 30 million, industry analysts were left to wonder how the company will recoup its vast outlay. Formed in 1980, REM have grown from cult status into a mature band whose audience runs from teenagers to the thirty-somethings who grew up with them.
Guitarist Peter Buck, 39, singer Michael Stipe, 36, bassist Mike Mills, 37, and drummer Bill Berry, 37, have won four Grammys and despite their success remain based in Athens, Georgia, a small college town.
Environmentally and politically engaged, REM played at President Bill Clinton's inaugural celebrations in Washington DC four years ago. They have been prominent supporters of MTV's Rock the Vote campaign to encourage young Americans to register to vote.
The deal broke the $70m record set by the singer Janet Jackson earlier this year. Warner Bros saw off bids from five other companies and sees the signing as a huge coup.
The company is struggling to recover from a series of corporate power battles in the last two years said to have alienated top artists. Several had threatened to jump ship, including REM.
The terms of the deal are thought to be $10m signing bonus, $10m per new album, and $20m advance on sales of their existing Warner albums. Music's silly season, page 11
- 1 Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
- 2 Novel Scarlett Johansson tried to ban, Grégoire Delacourt’s The First Thing You See, to be published in UK
- 3 Toby Sheldon: Justin Bieber lookalike found dead in motel room
- 4 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
- 5 Pregnant teenager Neysi Perez 'wakes up in coffin' a day after her funeral
Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
Nazi gold train: 'Significant' discovery made in Poland
Toby Sheldon: Justin Bieber lookalike found dead in motel room
Horses 'neglected for 15 years' found with 3ft-long hooves
Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...
£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing, ambitious, en...